SOLAR TRAVEL: RV owners test out solar panels at WIT Grand National Rally

Posted on: 4:12 pm, July 22, 2011, by , updated on: 12:39pm, March 5, 2012

From nearly every state in the country, Winnebago owners rolled into Forest City this week, lining up for fun, food, and everything RV at the Winnebago-Itasca Traveler’s Grand National Rally.

“We’re just trying to take it all in,” said Gary Rigsby who drove up from Texas with his wife Brenda in their Itasca Sun Cruiser. The couple volunteered this year to help park the approximately 1,100 motor homes.

These rigs are a way of life for most here and ways to power them are always top of mind.

“It’s something you think about all the time,” said Rigsby.

That’s where Ames-based PowerFilm Inc is stepping in with flexible solar panels to put on almost anything. On top of an RV, they’ll charge up your battery in three or four days, engineers say.

The back of the panel is like a giant sticker so there are no holes to drill. Once the panel is in place all you need is the cord. One end connects to the panel the other goes straight to the battery in the generator.

Panels can also be installed on the golf carts many motor home enthusiasts use to get around once they’ve parked their rigs. Currently Des Moines Golf & Country Club also has several carts running with the PowerFilm panels.

The panels range in price from about $100 to $1,000 dollars.