Understanding your Airstream Solar System - Colonial Airstream
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Understanding your Airstream Solar System

Today we are going to go over the basics of solar power and how it works with your Airstream. Whether you’ve already harnessed the sun or are considering doing so, the more you know about Airstream’s solar capabilities, the more you can benefit.

Airstream travel trailers come pre-wired to support up to three roof-mounted solar panels. Travel Trailers ranging from 16′ to 23′ get the option to add a 90W solar package (1 panel) while 25′ to 30′ models can get 180W installed (2 panels), and top-of-the-line models like Classic and Pottery Barn come standard with 270w (3 panels) of solar power. However, you can add additional panels using aftermarket parts depending on your unit’s available roof space.

Airstream Touring Coach models such as the Interstate 24 and Atlas are delivered with 400-watts of solar panel power. There is 300W feeding power to the house batteries and a separate, dedicated 100-watt solar panel for the chassis battery. The smaller Interstate Nineteen has slightly less with 250-watts of solar on the roof.

Solar Power System

So how do solar panels work? Let’s start by breaking down the main components of an RV’s solar system and what they do. Typically your system will have Solar Panels, a Controller, and batteries. 

Solar Panel

The solar panels are made up of individual solar cells — small devices that can convert sunlight to energy. Solar panels convert the sun’s energy into direct current (DC) electricity, and this charges your RV’s batteries, storing the electricity.

Controller

A solar charge controller protects the batteries from being overcharged by disconnecting the solar power feed when it senses that they are fully charged. The control will then reconnect the system when your battery levels have dropped enough to accept more current.

Batteries

Your batteries store electricity as DC (direct current) power, which can handle many tasks, such as powering the lights, running vent fans, or recharging your USB-powered electronic devices. For bigger chores — such as running the air conditioning, or using appliances with motors and heating elements you’ll need AC power from a generator or shore power supply.

Victron Energy system

Current Airstream models that are equipped with solar will have a Victron Energy system. The Victron system is a fantastic solar and battery controller system that displays all the vital information gathered by the controller. When using the panel, you can see that it is very simple to use with up and down arrows to scroll between different screen options. 

(A) The first screen you see is showing the battery and amps, this is going to tell you how many amps the batteries are currently using.

(B) Press the down arrow once again and we now see the battery voltage screen. This tells you how many volts are in the battery.

(C) Press once again, and it will show your Panel & wattage. Which tells you how many watts the panels are putting out.

(D) Continuing to the next screen, we come up with Kilowatts per hour. Showing a total number of kilowatts per hour charged, provided by your panels.

If you have any questions about solar or would like to have solar installed in your RV, give us a call at 1-800-265-9019. You can also view our Current Inventory to see all of our Airstream models that are available.