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.
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Levi Henley is a freelance writer and has also been full-time RVing with his wife and pets since 2015.
7 thoughts on “A New Type Of Solar RV Awning Is Here”
Since flexible solar panels have such terrible lifespans, how soon until you have to replace it? Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea but 10k buys a heck if a lot if diesel for the generator. And if you’re replacing or repairing every year or two, it doesn’t seem practical.
$10,000.00 is a lot but then how much is our government going to pay them as a subsidize. That’s why the price goes up on a lot of things.
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Well, being and electrical eng. I’m wondering how you get the charging wires to your batteries on that awning system if it didn’t come with your rig preinstalled.
And when the sun comes up on the other side of your rig and doesn’t hit the awning till mid morning, how much charging will you really benefit from the cost of that system?
10 grand. Bwahahaha
As a 12 year fulltimer, with 700 watts of solar on my roof, I can attest to the fact that there are many days when I would not want to, or would not be able to put out my awning. Without the awning extended, I would have no solar power to recharge my batteries. No solar charging while travelling, or while overnighting in a business lot like a Walmart, or Home Depot. also, the awning is slightly tilted, even when fully extended, so unless you’re parked in the right orientation, you will get reduced solar effect. Also, on windy days, which you get a lot of in the Southwest desert, & many other areas of the country, you would not be able to extend the awning. On the positive side, if you park in an east/west orientation, with the awning side facing the sun’s arc, you could get maximum solar effect by tilting the awning at the proper angle.
The only rver I see benefiting from this solar awning is someone who goes to a destination & parks for an extended period, & then only if they can orient the awning to get the most benefit. $10,000 is a lot to spend for a lot of “maybes” & “ifs”. My 700 watts of panels are working all the time, wherever we go. I also see these panels being very susceptible to damage from wind & frequent extension/retraction cycles. I also see a lot of cleaning issues, like leaves, acorns, twigs & dirt getting stuck in between the individual panels.
I guess if it’s too windy to roll out the awning, you won’t get charged?