What does Zamp Solar Ready mean?
Zamp Solar Ready Means Your RV Can Easily Accept Solar
Your RV has the wires needed to add solar panels and a charge controller that all connects to your battery - from the factory.
Zamp solar ready means that this RV has been equipped from the factory with the ability to add solar panels and a solar charge controller so you can EASILY charge the battery with solar power.
More about what Solar Ready can do and what other brands you'll see - https://backcountrysolar.com/collections/solar-ready-rv-solar-kits
A HUGE portion of the work that is needed to power your RV with solar power has been done. It's smart to buy an RV that is solar ready if you ever plan to use solar to charge the battery. It makes installing solar VERY easy.
The RV Does Not Come With a Solar System
This does not mean that the RV is equipped with solar, or that it will get solar installed when you purchase. Getting solar added to the RV is separate, in most cases, from purchasing the RV.
The SAVVY RV Dealer Will Help You Understand Solar
However, SAVVY RV dealerships will add in solar to the price of the RV. They have the ability to wrap in solar to the total financing of the RV. They understand that solar is VERY - VERY beneficial to a large population of RV buyers.
But, buyer be warned. If your RV salesperson shoves RV solar to the side - get another salesperson. They just need to meet quotas. Get someone that can clearly explain solar and what it can do and how you can buy it. It could be less expensive to get it financed. But if you can install it yourself you could save yourself tons of cash - Check Out Our Zamp Solar Ready Kits Here.
Is Solar Ready a Marketing Ploy?
We've had some calls and we've seen some posts on forums that claim Solar Ready is a marketing ploy. We're looking at your Forest River.
We don't feel it's a ploy [in most cases].
We agree that what solar ready is - isn't well explained by the dealers or even on the Zamp Solar website.
Solar Ready on an RV (in most cases) means that wire and ports, suitable for that brands solar systems, has been installed while the RV was being manufactured.
This saves the RV owner the cost of the wire and the labor to put it in. Installing the wires for the solar system is where most of the labor is at. Instead of your solar installation taking 8 hours at $130 per hour, it's really only going to take 2-4 hours, 4-hours at MAX. This is only for Roof-Top Mounted RV Systems and ONLY for the solar side of the install. Getting inverters, electrical protection and upgrading batteries don't count.
Portable systems shouldn't take any longer than 15-minutes really. Check fuse, make sure the correct wires are connected to the battery and plug-in the portable. Easy!
Forest River Solar Ready RV's
We have heard that some Forest River dealers are charging hundreds of dollars to connect two wires up on Solar Ready RV's to use the GoPower Sidewall Port. This port is for the portable systems. It sounds like it's not connected from the factory and may or may not have a fuse. This is ONLY what we've heard, if you have a different story please leave a comment. Connecting two wires up for a solar system should take long and it shouldn't cost you that much.
Note- Forest River uses several solar companies. GoPower, Zamp and Furrion. They all have a version of a sidewall port.
So What Does A Zamp Solar Ready RV Look Like
Zamp has two main solar ready offerings.
- Solar Ready Roof Caps They come in 1, 2, and 3-port Caps
- Sidewall Solar Port A single port for portable, suitcase style portable solar kits.
You can see what kind of Zamp Solar Ready system you have by either asking the dealer or spotting these ports for yourself. Obviously, you'll have to get on the roof to see the roof ports.
How are Zamp Solar Ready Solar Systems Wired
This is where you should start asking your dealer some questions. Zamp provides the ports and a recommendation of what size wires to use for each installation. However, the RV manufacture get the final say.
We posted some more about proper solar wire size here - Why Wiring Size Matters in RV Solar Installations
Basic rule of thumb for Zamp Kits
- At lease 8 gauge at 25-feet or less of copper stranded wires for Roof-Top Solar systems up to 510-watts of solar.
- At lease dual 8-gauge at 25-feet or less of copper stranded wires for Roof-Top Solar Systems up to 1020-watt of solar.
- At lease 12-gauge wire at 15-feet or less of copper stranded wire for any portable system. 10-gauge would be preferred.
Note - Zamp Solar still uses PWM charge controllers. The voltage of their solar systems is 18-working and up to 22VDC open. Wire size is VERY important. If you use a MPPT charge controller, wire size can be decreased if the panels are wired at higher voltages. Contact us for more info.
If the wires on the RV run at a longer length there may be some inefficiency losses. It's not as cut and dry as wire gauge and length - again just a basic rule of thumb.
Take-Away - Zamp Solar Ready RV Systems
If you have an option to get an RV that is Zamp Solar Ready and you think you might enjoy the freedom of being able to camp anywhere the sun shines you'd be wise to get it. Having the ability to install solar easily can reduce the cost of installing solar in the future by a great deal.
If you get a larger RV 20-feet or greater and plan to travel for up to a week at a time get an RV with a Solar Ready Roof Port, and sidewall if equipped, installed. Sidewall ports are good but that side solar system might not keep up larger power demands. RV's 20-feet and smaller can easily keep the batteries charged with moderate power use - fans, water pump, lights, small electronic charging.
Need more info - leave a comment or email.