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Should More RV Parks Switch To Solar Power?


solar power over campsites
Campsites under solar structure at Lazydays KOA Resort in Arizona. Photo submitted to Campground Reviews by KOA-Market 2016.

Should More RV Parks Switch To Solar Power?

The finishing touches on Dane County’s first solar-powered park and campground were completed this past April.  The new solar power project at William G. Lunney Lake Farm County Park near Madison, Wisconsin will provide renewable electricity to campers and day-use visitors.

This endeavor is not the first of its kind.  A growing number of campgrounds and RV parks around the country have already invested in solar energy.

“In addition to the jobs that were created, the tax dollars that are saved, the carbon that’s not created by this energy, it’s not really a question of should we do this. It’s a question of why would you not. It would be fiscally irresponsible not to invest in renewable energy, like we’re doing in Dane County,” said County Executive Joe Parisi.

Solar power system setup

William G. Lunney Lake Farm County Park is a section of the Capital Springs Recreation Area. The 328-acre park includes a campground, 3 shelter facilities, play equipment, barrier-free boat launch with a fish cleaning facility, wildlife pond, observation tower, and a handful of hiking and cross-country ski trails. 

More than 460 panels were installed on buildings, including the roof of the shower building and a park shelter.  The 66kW solar energy system will provide about 90% of the electricity consumed at the campground.  This tally includes electric usage at the campground’s 39 sites.

solar power at RV park
Dane County’s first solar-powered park and campground.

Other solar projects

A second solar system was installed at the Lussier Family Heritage Center, an event venue just a short walk from the campground. Aside from the center, panels were added to a nearby park shelter.  An electric vehicle charging station was also installed at the Lussier Center. This 76kW system will give the facility more than 90% of the power it needs.

“I’m thrilled to have these new solar projects powering our park to help inspire and educate people on the importance of protecting our environment and combating climate change,” said Parisi. “Our first solar-powered campground brings Dane County one step closer to achieving our commitment to becoming 100% renewable at county-owned facilities.”

Compared to other counties in Wisconsin, Dane County owns the most solar-powered systems, generating more than 800 kW of power.

You can view the news coverage on Dane County’s new solar power additions in the clip below.

Solar power and sustainability in campgrounds

A representative from Nuance Energy, a company that specializes in solar products and services, mentioned, “RV parks are often ideal sites for solar energy for two reasons: They have a large footprint and, as the equivalent of little towns, they consume a lot of electricity. RVers also tend to like the idea of conserving energy and getting it from renewable sources, making a park with solar energy production all the more appealing as a place to stay for a while.”

RV parks and campgrounds that have embraced solar power have not only lowered their carbon footprint. They have also brought a new experience to the camper.  The new Panelview RV Park in Hermiston, Oregon has an interesting set-up. Each RV site has a 3kW solar panel mounted on a pole.  The panel provides shade for the RV. Plus, on a sunny day, more energy can be produced than a motorhome can use. 

Tucson/Lazydays KOA Resort in Arizona has solar structures that shelter 30 RV sites.

 “We have a massive Solar Parasol structure that covers two acres of RV sites at our Tucson/Lazydays KOA Resort in Arizona,” KOA president and CEO Toby O’Rourke said. “That structure supplies more than enough power for the campground while providing partial cooling shade for the RVs parked beneath it.”

With so many advantages to the campground and campers (and not to mention the environment), we may see even more RV parks jump on the solar power train.

Find more campgrounds and RV parks

Want to know more about a campground before your arrival? Check out Campground Reviews for a breakdown of park amenities, photos, and camper reviews. 

For all your travel planning needs, look no further than RV Trip Wizard and its accompanying RV Life GPS App.  With its RV-friendly direction, you’ll be sure to get to your next destination safe and sound. 

Continue reading: Can Solar Panels Power an RV Air Conditioner? 

Author Natalie Henley Avatar

Natalie Henley

Natalie Flores-Henley and her husband, Levi Henley, workamp around the country in their 26-foot motorhome. Along with writing for RV magazines, they recently published their first book together, Seasonal Workamping for a Living: How We Did It. They share their experiences and RV-related tips on their own blog henleyshappytrails.com as well as videos on their YouTube Channel, also called Henley's Happy Trails.

39 thoughts on “Should More RV Parks Switch To Solar Power?

  1. As the owner of the Glades RV Resort in South Central Florida I can state that the newly installed, one megawatt solar farm on 4 unused acres has the capacity to power our 400 site Park Without being visually intrusive, supporting climate control and the natural environment in our surrounds, and doing so on a cost effective way that will stabilize our energy costs and lower them as time goes by. Feel free to visit our website at www.thegladesresort.com for more info.

  2. From the photos posted on this article, the solar RV parks are, without a doubt, the most unappealing parks I have seen. Can’t see us ever staying at one.

  3. Solar (and wind) power are marginal, at best. Power the lights in the bath house or under a pavilion but don’t expect me to park under a cover of solar panels (which will soon be filling up landfills as they wear out). AND, don’t expect me to share the cost of this boondoggle! I already resent the “free” charging stations at shopping centers. No one offers to supplement my fuel cost for shopping there! As you can tell, I am NOT a fan of electric vehicles, solar power or wind power. It’s all a boondoggle!

  4. Reading these replays is enlightening. Very selfish responses. ” Is it going to cost me a few extra bucks?” Not, is it for the greater good, but rather, all about me. If you own an RV and are traveling around in one, a few extra bucks per night is a drop in the proverbial bucket.

  5. Sorry, but if you’re sacrificing open skies and scenic views for a virtue signaling technology then I’m out. I’ll pick someplace else.

  6. I call bs on the solar footprint ! Building these is a nightmare and disposing them is even worse but politicians want their pictures taken and could not care less about the dowsides …

  7. most of these comments make me ashamed to be an RVer. Seems they are quite content to be part of the problem rather than even a small part of the solution.

  8. Catalina Spa and RV Resort doesn’t charge any of its 450 sites for electricity and 50 /30 amps are available at each sites to plug-in. The site have shady shrubs on both sides. I’ve been going there for the past 4 winters and always had reliable electric for A/C and all electrical needs. They have massive solar array on their property outside of the developed resort that feeds the Resort. Located in Desert Hot Springs CA so have Reliable day long sunshine

  9. Wisconsin, Solar, Right. How about when ya Really NEED the juice. … Right during and after a snow storm. Or is this a “one season” RV Park?

  10. I want trees. I like eye candy and this is not eye candy. A shade tree looks better then a solar panel.

  11. On the surface it sounds great. Run the A/C all day long if you wish, at what seems like zero cost.

    As Ed wrote, ask the children who dig up the minerals. The only country in the world that manufactures solar panels is China, and they use slave labor to do it. There is also a huge hidden cost in disposing of all these toxic wasted products. The world needs to slow down, step back and make a critical assessment of the benefits of all this alleged green energy. The safest form of electrical energy is nuclear power plants of a modern design. Oh, the lefties killed those off too.

  12. A year ago I would have thought going solar would have been the greatest thing ever. Now I have a second thoughts about the idea that going solar is the proper thing to do. What about all the consequential problems that develop because of the mining of the chemicals going into solar The kids being used and harvesting the materials in solar ,plus all the batteries that are being used with the materials brought in from China. Solar will be a frontrunner and energy one day but until we get our batteries caught up with that technology I don’t think it’s viable.

  13. Solar power. No. No. No. Ask the children that dig the minerals that go into the solar panels.

    1. I do not think anyone will need to worry about that cost! I wonder how all intend on paying the Huge cost at the pumps? The Days of RVing is close to ending..

  14. Why? The expensive panels would force park owners to recoup their expenses by passing it on to RVers resulting in increased fees making hotels a better answer to RV parks. Solar panels in parks would only muck up the scenic views many parks have. We RV to get away from this kind of thing.

  15. IF I were going to do this, go solar, I would put a shelter roof over each RV site and install solar panels on all of those. That way the electric use would be less (shelter from the beating sun) and also probably be able to produce enough to feed back into the grid and earn as well as supply the needs. This would be better for all the traveling RV people; wow, a covered site, keep the sun off the roof; and make things more user friendly. Just my 2 cents worth. Have a nice day.

    1. I fully agree and if we think about it the area above our rigs is not doing much so something that protects it from excessive sun damages is good. I’d pay extra for such a site.

  16. Absolutely, Solar is the future. I have 400 watts on my Airstream roof and it was the smartest add-on. I’m also on the waitlist for the Tesla Cybertruck, so the CGs that have solar charging stations are going to pull ahead.

    1. solar is expensive, inefficient and just when you’re about to pay off the system you need to replace the panels. to build solar panels the resources and energy used is extremely high. it isn’t the future.

  17. The solar installations certainly are not appealing to the eye makes campsites clinical rather than restful and relaxing.

    1. Talking bear, open, graveled parks. Places like desert regions could certainly benefit.

  18. Solar is all well and good – we have 1000 watts of solar just in case, along with some “solar generators.”
    Right after we purchased the solar panels we had 10 days of almost NO sun. Which made them pretty worthless. I think the weather in Texas this winter would negate a reliance on solar, especially in Wisconsin. Not totally against it but should be ancillary.

  19. unless they put up that much solar and maintain it. they will never recoup there costs.
    but i say yes for the places that are really just flat parking lots with no shade. but then i believe all commercial flat topped tilt up buildings should cover them with solar. large parking lots also. stop turning bare land, or old crop land into solar fields.

  20. Solar power can be a valuable tool to control power costs but the way it is is configured in your 1st pic would be awful! Who would want to park beneath below a “roof” of solar panels? I have doubts that those of us who use sat tv would find this workable.

  21. Hard to get Satellite TV or Internet with the solar panels completely covering the RV site?

    Tilt them to catch the winter sun and provide shade for the RV but leave space open in the centre of the parking pad for satellite dishes to access the sky. Wouldn’t think it would need to be a wide opening especially for southern sites as the satellites are basically overhead .

    1. I’ll venture there will be an accommodation for all aspects of connections and services. I love the idea as long as strict conduct rules are well applied.

  22. Sounds awesome that parks are using renewables. But is the cost of staying there the same as other parks in the area. Just because it’s green energy doesn’t mean that I should have to give up more of my green.

  23. Would work as bad in an RV park as it does in the California homes.
    Spend big bucks on a solar 747 too.

  24. Where solar makes financial sense for the property owner it is realistic so long as it is not visually intrusive. If all businesses in sunbelt locations were to put solar on the roof it could dramatically affect but would never replace the need for fossil fuels. The affect on the environment is negligible and is only a left wing wet dream. The amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is 0.04% (about 4 one hundredths of 1%) or about 400 parts per million. Even if you doubled it there would be no noticeable affect and it would take a huge number of years and total disregard to double it.

  25. Will the saving in electrical cost be passed to the campers? or will a fee be added to the rates to subsidize the cost of the solar system and the campground keep the savings in their electric bill?

    1. Installing solar at RV parks, WHY?
      When Gas and Diesel will be at a cost basically no one could afford, as we are seeing prices soaring higher and higher. Eventually Petroleum powered vehicles will become a thing of the past and banned. Where we live Gas is over $.4.00 gallon and Diesel price are close to $6.00 gallon

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