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We all love harnessing the power of the sun to bring electricity to our RVs. It’s clean, efficient energy, and once we’ve set up the system, the power itself doesn’t cost us a penny. But, there’s a new kid in town – a solar RV awning – and we think it’s pretty exciting, so today we’re sharing our excitement with you, and we’re taking a look at this innovative new product. Let’s go!
What Is a Solar RV Awning?
A solar RV awning is a retractable awning made of high-performance solar panels. When the awning is deployed, the solar panels are exposed to the sun to generate power, while the RV’s electrical system harnesses it and stores it in the rig’s battery bank.
We’re guessing you’ve got lots of questions as we did when we first heard about it, so let’s get to answering them!
Who Makes the Xpanse Solar RV Awning?
The Xpanse solar RV awning is made by Xponent Power, a renewable energy company based in Fremont, California. The company is comprised of solar and RV professionals with significant experience in both industries.
How Is the Xpanse Solar Awning Constructed?
The glass-based solar panels use materials that are traditionally used in the construction of residential and commercial solar panels to ensure durability and efficiency.
According to Xponent Power:
“The uniqueness of the Xpanse solar panel lies in the design of an ultra-compact form factor that enables its seamless integration with the mechanical components in the awning and a very small footprint when the awning is closed.”
The company has even designed the system such that if damage were to occur to a section of the awning, it could easily be replaced with no impact to the rest of the system.
How Many Watts of Solar Power Does the Xpanse Awning Deliver?
The Xpanse solar RV awning will be available in 1,200W, 1,000W, and 800W versions.
This means that it’s a system that would work well for RVers with very different power needs. While 800W would be sufficient for a large number of RVers, travelers who live and work in their RVs full-time as we do would be able to take advantage of a larger capacity system.
Can the Solar Awning Be Damaged By Wind Like Traditional Awnings?
We had the same question – and the answer appears to be pretty brilliant.
The Xpanse solar awning is designed and has been tested to withstand winds up to 45 miles per hour. When subjected to sustained winds from 25mph to 45mph, the Xpanse solar RV awning performed well and sustained no damage.
Even better, the awning is designed to retract just slightly in windy conditions, which allows the wind to pass between the solar panels, stopping the awning from being tossed around.
And there’s more! The Xpanse solar awning is programmed to completely retract automatically if the wind’s speed exceeds a pre-set limit.
Do I Need to Remove My RV’s Awning to Have a Solar Awning Installed?
No, you don’t need to remove your RV’s fabric awning. The Xpanse solar awning can be installed on the opposite side of the RV.
In fact, it’s even possible for two Xpanse awnings to be installed on a single RV, one on either side, doubling the amount of solar power provided!
Of course, if you only want a single awning, and already have one installed on your RV, you’d need to remove the existing awning and replace it with the Solar RV awning.
How Long Is the Xpanse Solar RV Awning and How Far Does It Extend?
The solar RV awning is about 16 feet long and extends approximately 7 feet off the side of the RV when fully deployed.
The length of the awning can be scaled down in 3-foot increments to be customized to fit smaller RVs.
How Many Extend/Retract Cycles Will the Support Arms Tolerate?
The support arms have been tested with heavier loads than the weight of the full solar awning over 2,000 extend/retract cycles, and this testing offered reassurance of the product’s durability and continued efficient performance with significant use.
How Do I Install a Solar RV Awning or How Much Will It Cost to Hire an Installer?
You won’t need to pay anything to hire an installer because the cost of installation is included in the price. All installations of Xpanse solar RV awnings are done by the trained professionals at Xponent Power.
The company plans to offer multiple locations throughout the country where installations can take place at the location most convenient to the customer.
How Do I Extend and Retract a Solar RV Awning?
You push a button. Not kidding. It’s that simple.
What If I Already Have Solar Panels On My RV’s Roof?
Not a problem. The Xpanse awning can be added to your current solar system, and can be incorporated with your rooftop solar, connecting both to the same electrical system (it’s unclear from the literature if the Xpanse Solar RV awning comes with its own solar charge controller or if that has to be added/purchased separately).
Will the Solar RV Awning Fit On My RV?
Xponent states that the Xpanse awning “is designed to be compatible with most RV makes and models”. Once they receive information about your RV when you pre-order your system, they’ll confirm compatibility with your rig.
Does Xponent Offer a Warranty on the System?
Yes – the company offers a 10-year warranty on the solar awning itself, and a 1-year warranty on labor “in accordance with our Product Warranty”.
How Do I Order an Xpanse Solar Awning and When Will It Be Installed?
You’ll need to pre-order your desired system. The cost is $100 to reserve your system, and the deposit is fully refundable. In the meantime, you should be able to see the product up close and personal at trade shows or at RV dealerships prior to placing your final order.
You can take a look at that process and also see the costs associated with all three versions of the Xpanse solar RV awning here.
You can also take a look at some videos of the Xpanse solar RV awning at work on Xponent Power’s YouTube channel.
What Do You Think of this Innovative New Product?
So, tell us – what do you think of this innovative product? We’d love to hear your thoughts, so drop them in the comments section! Would you have one installed on your RV?
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Even though we're handy RVers, we're not professional technicians. So although we're happy with the techniques and products we use, you should be sure to confirm that all methods and materials are compatible with your equipment and abilities. Regardless of what we recommend, consult a professional if you're unsure about working on your RV. Any task you perform or product you purchase based on any information we provide is strictly at your own risk.