A New Type Of Solar RV Awning Is Here
RV awnings are strange things. Their purpose is to block the sun or give RVers cover from the rain. But you have to roll them in at the slightest hint of wind unless you fix them in place with rigging and stakes. The more expensive ones will even roll themselves in when it gets too windy.
It’s almost as if RV awnings are a mostly useless accessory for your rig rather than a functional tool. U.S.-based company Xponent Power aims to update your RV awning with a unique solar RV awning. It can take the wind and gather power. It’s not cheap, though.
Space plagues traditional solar systems
RVs only have so much roof real estate to mount solar panels. Unfortunately, this means that those wishing to build systems that allow for complete off-grid camping have to limit their solar charging capabilities to however many panels they can cram on their roof.
Considering the primary job of an RV awning is to block the sun, it makes sense to convert it to solar panels. The problem lies in a company creating a functional and durable design that you can easily roll in and out, and that can be easily installed on existing RVs. Xponent Power seems to have a very viable solution.
“Based in Fremont, CA; Xponent Power comprises a team of solar and RV industry veterans with over 100 years of combined experience in the solar and RV industries…The first market segment being served by the company’s solar technology platform is recreational vehicles. To address the power needs of the RV industry, Xponent Power offers Xpanse; a stylish, compact, and retractable solar awning that deploys at the touch of a button and provides abundant power on the go.”Xponent Power
Xponent is calling their solar RV awning Xpanse. The Xpanse is 14 feet long, extends to about 7 feet, and provides 1000 watts of solar. They claim it will fit most RV models, and they plan to start shipping in the second half of 2022.
You can install more than one
Those wishing to build a solar system that can run their RV air conditioner will be happy to know that you can install an Xpanse RV solar awning on either side of your RV.
This provides a little over 2000 watts of solar, which would cover an average-sized RV air conditioner. You would, of course, need a battery bank and inverter that could handle the task as well, but mounting enough solar is no longer an issue.
Note: Most AC companies agree that if you are starting your RV air conditioner from an inverter, you should have a soft starter like the SoftStartRV installed to reduce strain on the inverter.
It can take the wind
Xponent claims, “The Xpanse solar awning is designed to handle significantly higher wind speeds than a fabric awning. Also, the awning is designed to intelligently retract slightly under windy conditions, thereby enabling air to pass between the solar panels and prevent the awning from flapping around, unlike a fabric awning. Additionally, the awning is programmed to automatically retract completely when the wind speed crosses a pre-set threshold.”
Solar isn’t cheap, and at $10,000, the Xponent solar RV awning is no exception. However, one facet that may make all those zeros seem more affordable is the fact that installation is included in the price. At the time of writing this article, they are working on offering finance options too.
Another thing to consider is that some people will qualify for the ITC Tax Credit, which the company claims will save you up to 22%. The system is available for pre-order with a $100 deposit which is 100% refundable. Check out xponentpower.com to learn more.
RV Trip Routing With Weather
If you rely on solar for your RV adventures, it’s nice to know if it will be cloudy, rainy, or sunny at tomorrow’s destination. So wouldn’t it be nice if your RV trip routing app emailed you a weather report for your next destination automatically the night before? If you use RV LIFE Trip Wizard, you don’t have to wish anymore. Know where you’re headed, and more importantly, what the weather will be like when you get there with automatic trip emails from RV LIFE Trip Wizard.