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Old 02-18-2020, 03:49 AM   #41
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Originally Posted by lwmcguire View Post
Hopefully no one can top that rate

You mean charging $25 for roughly 10 cents worth of electricity?


That should be a crime. If not, I want to invest in that business.
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Old 02-18-2020, 12:26 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by Chance View Post
You mean charging $25 for roughly 10 cents worth of electricity?


That should be a crime. If not, I want to invest in that business.
It's the State of California. So much I could say about that...
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Old 02-18-2020, 03:42 PM   #43
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Originally Posted by AAL787 View Post
The math was easy for me. The state camp sites I use charge $25/day for electricity - 25 days there in the last two months alone - it'll pay for itself by choosing the non-hookup site and letting the sun do its thing.
while I initially understand your thought, here, I'm confused as to 'how' this actually works out, in the real world, financially speaking, if you are 'comparing' the two types of 'camping'.

I assume that you would, and would want to, do the same 'things' you do when 'off grid', as when you are at that 'expensive' $25 per day electrical site.
If that's the case, then your solar won't do all the 120v requirements that you demand, it will only do the 12v items, unless you have an inverter, which is going to still require the use of a generator to power up air conditioning, electric water heating, etc. The generator and it's fuel are going to be a cost to include in your comparison. The cost of the solar system is going to be a cost to consider in your comparison.
It also might be easy to throw out the cost of the solar you might want to defend the fact that you 'already' have it, but it's still part of the correct cost comparison equation, regardless. You can't leave out the very thing that you are touting as the 'answer' to your energy needs.

I'm also assuming that the 'other' site is not 'Free', just because it doesn't have the electrical option. If that's the case, you certainly aren't $25 'ahead of the game', but less, maybe much less depending on the fee for the 'off grid' site.

Solar is not a zero-sum game. It will not and can't do 'everything' to take you totally off the grid, unless you are also changing your electrical habits, and what you actually do use when electricity is not available.
Many folks do things differently when on-grid, versus off, so it's not as easy as a true comparison if are not actually making ALL considerations as part of the argument.

I like solar. I see it's benefits. I like it's quite work. I like it's low maintenance.

I don't like it's cost for what it does.

Some will truly get the 'value', over the very, very long term, by changing what and how they do things when using solar, versus the when on the 'grid', but the very vast majority will never ever see the financial difference, but still may see the 'emotional' and comfortable value, which is a whole different argument.
Replacing a generator with solar is probably what most are shooting for, and that's a seemingly noble concern, though mostly over-concerned by most RVrs - they just don't camp or travel enough, in the 'whole' of the experience, to make a solar justification, even if it CAN replace the generator all-together.

I like the new coaches that are being prototyped or proposed that will provide a large solar array, will replace the generator with a huge lithium battery power-plant, come with three or more large inverter/chargers, include a larger or additional supplemental Alternator, and provide a totally off-grid capability without concern for any generator any more.
Though, I can also imagine that while even all that seems like it will surplant the 'need' for an onboard generator, there still may be times that cranking and running the coach's engine will still be required. The noise may still be a part of the equation, no matter how you slice it.


I like to Pro and Con arguments about solar. It's not a one-size-fits-all argument, and some will be much happier with it, while many others will be totally happy and satisfied without it.


Someone posted that they would then have the capability, when the world ends, to shine their 'light' on their neighbor RVs that don't have their own solar...
I'm not sure what that real point is, but I'd compare that to the idea that 'gold' is somehow the only thing you should invest your money into for the 'when the world ends' scenario - the only thing anyone will care about, realistically, is food and water. Everything else, money especially, will be a very distant second, if even that close, no matter if it is paper or coins or a gold nugget. If you can't eat it, it won't have much value. Having 'solar' also won't make any difference.


enjoy!
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Old 02-18-2020, 05:28 PM   #44
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Originally Posted by Chance View Post
You mean charging $25 for roughly 10 cents worth of electricity?
That should be a crime. If not, I want to invest in that business.
When you buy your own campground: will all of your sites be less than 22 feet long, and have no hook-ups?
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Old 02-19-2020, 12:54 PM   #45
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On theme of things we can do without ....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Denman View Post
When you buy your own campground: will all of your sites be less than 22 feet long, and have no hook-ups?


We pay for full hookups when available, which isn’t always the case since we don’t make reservations in advance as often as we use to. A few times we’ve gotten stuck with a tent site that actually worked out great.

If I designed and built my own campground, I would have an entire section for under 25-foot rigs to accommodate vans and most Sprinter and Transit rigs. Smaller concrete pads would have more trees and open space so smaller units don’t feel claustrophobic when sandwiched between two DPs or 5ers. The worst part of many campgrounds is having large rigs parked a few feet on either side, limiting your view to straight ahead or back.

Following this thread’s theme of things we can do without, I’d follow this new campground business plan. Real camping is great, but we also need places to just overnight. We’ve stayed at one place like this many times and love it (except it’s a little too close to highway). An extra 100 yards away to muffle sound would be ideal.




Quote:
“I don’t sleep well in a Wal-Mart or Flying J parking lot,” he admits, a sentiment that many RVers can agree with. “And I don’t want to be driving 5 or 6 miles off the interstate looking for a campground in the dark. I don’t need a store, I don’t need a pool, I don’t need a shower house, and I don’t want to pay for a resort just to park overnight.”

https://rvbusiness.com/missouri-deve...-park-concept/
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Old 02-19-2020, 01:30 PM   #46
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...the idea I've had for RV Parks and even Campgrounds to have several 'pull thru Overnight no-hookup cheap sites' is a noble one, but probably not realistic. Here's why:

For every RV Park and Campground, just like in real estate, the amount of space is limited, and the amount you can charge for each space is a premium, meaning that owners are very UNLIKELY to provide space for 'cheaper' overnight stays simply because those spaces are much more profitable for those who can be charged the 'regular' overnight price for utilities, even if they don't 'need' them.
If you have an RV Park, large enough for 30 RV sites, it's doubtful that you are going to find it profitable, from a business stand-point, to create 3 sites that you can only charge a much lower price for - when you might expect that those sites should demand the same payback as the other 27 - which creates the best overall business profit for the amount of 'real estate' that you have.
It's similar to those brand new Neighborhoods you see construction companies building out. They have 20 acres to make use of. Each house sits on a 1/4 acre, giving the company to ability to build and sell and make a profit on 80 homes. If that company, though, decides that 4 of those lots will be a larger 1/2 acre each, they are essentially taking away 4 of the homes that they could build and sell and make a profit on - not a good business decision. Could those 4 'special' 1/2 lots sell for more money? Sure, but since real estate has a 'limit' to what it can be valued at, it's highly doubtful that even the higher selling price will come anywhere close to what the additional 4 1/4 acre homes would provide, profit wise.

RV Parks and Campgrounds, especially private ones, are not in the business to 'give away' sites, but want a consistent and profitable income for each site. Could some of the sites sit empty because of this? Sure, but in the overall annual look-back, you'll probably find that even with the sites being sometimes unused, the profit is still much higher than if the sites were filled each and every night, but with much lower prices.

I get that those of us who travel, and aren't staying in an area as a destination, but simply as a 'pass thru' while traveling, want a simple, easy, and economical 'parking' space for the night, but the $ for this type of setup doesn't appeal to most business folks. The real estate to do this is generally too expensive, since it generally also is located near interstates or main US roads, and the payback is just not there. Could some cities, counties, or jurisdictions decide to create these just to help bring out-of-town RVrs to their area? I suppose, but I also suppose that some of the push back is also there from local residents who can sometimes view this as a 'trashy' place, or a place for 'vagrants', or a place for those 'down on their luck', or something that just 'causes too many traffic concerns will all those big rigs...', etc.

Several years ago, in our small town in the BLue RIdge mountains of far western North Carolina, a BEAUTIFUL area!, a RV Park was proposed, on the Hiwassee river, just north of town, in an area along the river near an industrial area of town. While there is a local 'county' campground on the lake, and several rv parks in the area, the local residents did NOT like this idea. Many had raised concerns that it would become a trashy area, full of 'those folks' who don't care about keeping the area clean, or those RVrs who just want a 'cheap' place to live, or the 'traffic' that it would bring through the small downtown area, or even how it would impact the river(?). It got shot down.
Sometimes you think folks in a relatively 'touristy' and 'seasonal' town would relish the ability to cater to out-of-town RVrs who are visiting, but that apparently wasn't the idea most had, though I suppose many of those also camped at the local county park, in their RV. Strange.
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Old 02-19-2020, 02:12 PM   #47
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Old 02-19-2020, 03:26 PM   #48
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...the idea I've had for RV Parks and even Campgrounds to have several 'pull thru Overnight no-hookup cheap sites' is a noble one, but probably not realistic. Here's why:

......cut.....

With due respect, what you went on to describe was COMPLETELY different in every respect. I agree that adding a few “no hook-ups” “parking-only” sites to a regular campground doesn't make sense.

However, what was described in article is not a “campground” at all. Economics are totally different. It may not work anyway, but in my opinion not for the reasons you mentioned.

The cost structure is very different. For starters, no buildings, pools, laundry, etc. to construct or maintain, and no employees (except maybe one part time to check equipment occasionally).

As to land cost, also very different. All the campground spaces dedicated to buildings, pools, recreation, etc. would be for RV overnighting.

Also, many (nicer) campgrounds are located in more expensive land next to lakes, streams, rivers, ocean, touristy places, etc. If the business plan is to provide a place that’s convenient to overnight, it can be miles outside cities where land cost is relatively inexpensive.

The one I mentioned before is in a small Texas city and has no buildings and no full-time employees. You self pay (could be done easier now) and has water and electricity. Dump station is on way out. All sites are concrete and level. We like it a lot and not just because of the cost. It’s convenient, you pick any open site, self register, and eat or go to sleep. And at any time of night.
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Old 02-19-2020, 03:40 PM   #49
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Will you offer a Dog-Park with washing and grooming services?
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Old 02-19-2020, 04:26 PM   #50
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yes, I've seen a 'interstate RV park' on one occasion, at least, where we self-paid, self-parked, had electricity and water, and had a dump station. I did not see this as necessarily 'cheaper', though, just more convenient for interstate travelers. The only building was the 'self-register' area. The park is right behind a McDonalds, and rather loud with passing/parking semi trucks in a lot nearby.
With a location near the interstate and local intersection, it's probably a high-priced piece of real estate, and highly taxed, accordingly. It's not a destination, or a place for more than a night or two, and doesn't allow any long-term stays, but certainly o.k. for it's purpose.

Yes, there are many different business plans and situations when it comes to 'how' a park is built, priced, organized, and offered to the public - my previous comments where more to the point of 'why' most current RV Parks and Campgrounds don't price for simple 'overnight without hookup' stays - it's just not in their business plan, and many might even see this as a cheap way to stay, but then still 'expect' the same amenities and usage of the facilities as everyone else.
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Old 02-19-2020, 07:10 PM   #51
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Because our van is small, we stay in rest areas sometimes just to sleep and rest a few hours, parking along cars and away from idling trucks and RVs running generators. When driving late I don’t like wondering off main highways to find a campground, particularly if I didn’t make a reservation and there may not even be open sites.

It’s not about the cost either, because we’ll often end up in a hotel for the night which usually cost much more than campgrounds.

I’d like the future option to check online and see a “private rest area” (for lack of a better name) where I could reserve a spot before getting there at any time of night. If they offered electric and water that’s even better. A dump station is a must. The idea of staying at a Walmart or Cracker Barrel doesn’t appeal to us.

If these kinds of overnight places became common, it could also influence the way some RVs are built. For people who tour and or travel to far destinations, instead of boondock in the wild (which is most of us), it would not only make solar unnecessary, but also generators and large holding tanks.

There are places like these to overnight, but not enough of them, and none I’ve seen were privately owned. I agree with the investor that pulling into an RV Resort miles from the highway at 10 PM to leave at 8 AM makes little sense when just passing through.
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Old 02-19-2020, 08:28 PM   #52
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Let’s pull apart the assumption that off the grid wants/needs are the same as on grid. Not necessarily. It’s like the cookie they give me along with the sandwich I ordered. I’m only eating it because it’s there.
When I plug in electric the TV turns on and Netflix magically appears. I don’t need the cookie nor Netflix.

That having been said we all know everyone’s energy needs are different. The alternative away from plug-in hookup for us is not a coin toss between the generator or a 2000w pure sine wave inverter with a battery bank that’ll power Las Vegas.

Door number three blends it a bit.
12V runs the fans for 120v needs I plug a 500w inverter into the cigarette lighter and happily charge my laptop computer. I also run the heat when necessary and prefer fans over the ac. The water heater is tankless and doesn’t require AC.

This obviously amounts to some depletion. I can either crank up the generator at 10am and “harsh my chill” while sitting under the canopy, burn gas, aggravate the hippies in the tent next to me, etc or I can let the panels start working on it at sunrise.

My Yogi better half isn’t a fan of generator sound either. The choice then comes to an overpriced hookup, generator use depending on depletion level - gas/noise (the cost of an angry girlfriend), or a piece of monochrystallibe on the roof cooking up some clean amperage. So far the solar has topped off the batteries daily without generator assist so the generator cost hasn’t factored in. The sound of silence is an asset in and of itself.

Also, I didn’t already have solar. I just installed it recently because of these factors. I’m not out to replace the generator but rather create a viable alternative to minimize its use.

The above thoughts go beyond money so here’s my financial math.
Cost. Solar is very inexpensive in the case of my Vegas. On the new pre-wired models the only cost is a solar panel, brackets, and a tube of Dicor. About $200 for everything including a 170w panel. I went slightly beyond that because I plan to expand my rigs abilities for future adventures. Even factoring purely cost (and not peace) that’s a fairly quick recoup against just straight generator cost for my level of activity.

Though the other site isn’t free the $25 dollars I don’t pay times the 20 nights of my stay removes $500 from the bottom line and I’m still sitting right next to the Pacific Ocean. I do believe I’m ahead of the game in that sense. The expense of camping I get is planned but being pragmatic makes it more manageable as some price must be paid to borrow the real estate under my rig.

So let’s take that off the table and run the numbers as solar vs generator as if it’s off grid. The generator burns something like 1.2 gallons/hr. Charge time 2-4 hours daily so let’s use the low end and charge up for about 2 hours. Gas in SoCal $4/gallon today. Roughly $8 daily per charge minimum. At 20 sunny days (just this and last month) that new panel has already paid for itself.

As you state it’s not a one size fits all debate but in my case solar wins hands down.

All the best.
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Old 02-19-2020, 08:40 PM   #53
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My v10 burns .55 gallons per hour at idle and pretty much is silent at more than 10ft away.

Not trying to harsh your mellow, just giving an alternator alternative you missed.

I'll wind up with solar again I'm sure. In a metered fashion as you have.

I won't make it a religious choice and I won't do the apologetics.
Some do.
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Old 02-20-2020, 12:34 AM   #54
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the real world, tough, sometimes is not easy to make 'comparisons' for 'solar vs generator vs rv park electric', since there are also variables as to how we all 'really' live when on either of this power sources. For example, you can't just assume that 'well, I would save this amount because I have solar because 30 days at this $25 rv site would have cost me $600', because, if truth be told, it's probably very, very doubtful you would have actually 'stayed there' and paid $25 a day for 30 days. You probably would have more likely stayed only a few days, and then moved on, realizing that the cost possibly outweighs the enjoyment.
If, also, you compare having a generator vs solar, you can't also assume that just because it takes your generator 2 hours to full charge you batteries that you would have actually 'had' to do that. Many of us don't run our generators near as much because, after all, while on the generator, we make life changes that require 'less' power so that we don't have to.

It's true that 'raw' numbers can make a case for one or the other, depending on what blanks you fill in, but the reality is that we generally like to make 'our' case by passing thru numbers that weigh more for our side of the equation. It's not that simple. It WILL work for some, and may NOT for many others. It's not right or wrong, but rather information that helps those who are not as conscience of the realities take a broader 'look' at what it really means.
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Old 02-20-2020, 02:53 AM   #55
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Considering how expensive motorhomes and RVing are, I wouldn’t spend much time estimating relative costs of solar versus generators. Does it really matter? Not to me. When it cost up to $200 to fill an Axis fuel tank, and I could go through that in less than a day of driving, and then have to fill it again (hopefully outside of California at lower fuel cost), I’m not going to worry about a gallon of gas either way.

However, if someone wants to compare costs (for whatever reason), we should compare apples to apples. A typical 200-Watt solar system will likely make around 50 Amp-hours a day on average, maybe a little higher in sunny states. With a couple of batteries and a good converter, that can be “equaled” in about an hour of generator time. Additionally, if the generator is started solely to charge batteries, it will run at less than 50% load (which is 2,000 Watts) to power converter.

According to Onan, total fuel consumption to equal solar would therefore be around 0.5 gallons of gas a day, more or less. And there are more fuel efficient ways to charge batteries using gasoline.
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Old 02-20-2020, 01:20 PM   #56
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I agree wholeheartedly. At some level I'm probably just not a fan of generator sound after being around piston and jet engines for the last 40 years. Plus solar makes me want to go hug a tree and maybe pet a deer.
We can build a castle on either side of the debate which is why I'm enjoying the exchange on this.
$25 daily hookup aka sound of silence charge chapped me a bit and when the generator ran my yogi girlfriend was barking at me during her "downward dog".
In the end I'm digging solar for reasons beyond money plus Al Gore thinks I'm cool.
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Old 02-20-2020, 01:23 PM   #57
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In the end I'm digging solar for reasons beyond money plus Al Gore thinks I'm cool.
Yep.
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Old 02-20-2020, 01:52 PM   #58
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agree - the 'Gore' aspect really makes me want to 'save the planet'! Not.

agree - it's o.k. having these discussions and even disagreements, but it's all in the fun of discussing what the realities of these systems bring, when it comes to RVing, and the 'mobile' environment that ensues.

I have solar for almost one single reason: Alaska.
We planned a two month trip back in mid 2017. Not knowing much about what to expect, but realizing that many, many nights would be without electricity - without rv parks or campgrounds, I explored the cost and value of what solar could do to make up for, or offset, generator usage and fuel costs.
I found a nice new 200w solar system from HQST, with controller, wiring, and connectors, for a 12v output. I used the pricing to then financially extrapolate a 'guesstimate' of what the solar could do to lower the run time of the generator. Yes, though, it's just a guesstimate because there are simply so many variables to what will actually 'happen' while traveling that far, for that long, in an unknown environment, with little idea of what the 'sun' would be doing while we were there... cloudy, rainy, full sun, sun hours, whether to tilt the panels, etc.

I felt like the solar payback would come somewhat close to paying for itself, all calculations being conservative, and then the system would then be usable for many years beyond, as needed.

I received the panels, wired them up, and set them out to test, getting about 10-11amps during full overhead direct sun... nice.
I then pondered whether to mount them on the roof, as most RVrs do, or to take a course where I could maneuver them and tilt them for best outcomes, when parked.
That's when the idea of using my 3-bike articulating bike rack, which we had used for many thousands of miles, but were not planning on using for this trip, until now. I looked at the structure, added some aluminum 'rails' for panel supports, and devised a way to not only 'carry' the panels while traveling, but to then be able to easily deploy them flat, and also be able to tilt both toward the sun. I knew that while the sun would hardly set each day, especially in the very far north of the Yukon, and Alaska, being able to tilt them toward the majority of 'sun hours' would provide the most battery charging during those times.

It worked well. No regrets. I feel like the generator run time was much less than it might have been otherwise, though even that 'feeling' is simply a feeling - it's still really hard to totally 'prove' otherwise, since you might do things differently if you 'only' had a generator. Our generator is a Cummins Onan 6kw diesel, and performs flawlessly and powerfully for it's usage times, and is really fairly quite even then.

Now, realistically, even with 'full sun', solar is not always a power source that will be there - for instance, at a off-grid campground on a lake in the Yukon, the only camp parking sites were all under tree cover. Great for the shade, but hardly for the solar, especially if it's permanently attached to your roof. Another time we parked on a roadside pulloff while coming out of Jasper, on the way to Banff, on the Icefields Parkway, on the Athabasca river(beautiful!), the sun was full out, but just over the trees - another 'generator' overnight.

These are the realities, as everyone can 'dream' that the sun is almost always there for our solar, but it's not really the case - you just have to take it as it is - there's not always going to be a way to receive the sunlight, even if you can move your panels around.


It was fun, though, lets' go back again! 60 days to and from, and 9 days in Alaska!

I now have the panels mounted on the roof, like most, to keep them always 'out', and usable when sun is available, but I don't worry so much about whether they are getting exactly 100% of direct sun - just that they are doing what they 'can' to aid in the battery charging. It's all good.
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Old 02-20-2020, 02:07 PM   #59
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..." 'when the world ends' scenario - the only thing anyone will care about, realistically, is food and water."...


If you have them, you need a source to defend them...a big, heavy stocked source!
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Old 02-20-2020, 02:29 PM   #60
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