A solar system won't run the A/C, so you'd want a genset for that anyway.
Might be better to start with a 3K genset, that will handle your needs, and then start building a system for some solar panels down the road.
You'll want batteries (the more the better) for both systems, since you can't always run the genset 24 hrs at many parks.
Batteries will be your back-up, with the genset there to charge them every couple of days (depending on use)....
And eventually, you could start investing in panels.
That is what I would do, if I was in your position.
Bill & Claudia / DD Jenn / DS Chris / GS MJ Dogs: Sophie, Abby, Brandy, Kahlie, Annie, Maggie, Tugger & Beau RIP: Cookie, Foxy & Gidget @ Rainbow Bridge.
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I currently own neither but have done the same thought exercise myself. For me the generator won for a couple reasons:
A/C - Can't run it off solar and the cab A/C is not really enough for the whole rig, nor is it anyway near as efficient as a genny.
Space for batts or gen - My rig only has room for a single Group27 battery without modification. I have a "gen ready" compartment plus the option of using a rear rack instead. I may give up the compartment for the gen but wouldn't give up the majority of the room for batts. The remaining spaces are just too small.
Emergencies - Since I live in the storm and cold prone NE owning a generator has an appeal completely aside from RV use.
I chose not to use prices or ROI as a measurement for decision making. I'm cash strapped like most of us, but figured I would try to make the right decision based on a needs assessment and then figure out how to pay for it. Like I said, I have no first hand experience with either a generator or a solar array. So take it for what its worth.
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We went with a generator (Honda 2000) since we do some, but not a lot, of boon-docking. Much less expensive and much less weight than solar. Best solution for us, but each person's needs are different.
May want to start with the generator, see how much time you use it, then move onto solar if you think your boon-docking use would justify the cost.
We full time but RARELY boondock. We have neither solar nor generator and so far - haven't needed it. I figure that if we lose electricity for an extended period of time - like 3 or 4 days due to storm or whatever, we'll just check into one of Bodine's places ~$150 for the stay. So far, we haven't had to.
So, if you intend on boondocking a lot - you still have the original question but if not, I recommend NOT buying either and put the $$$$$ into an emergency fund.
I am currently boondocking in a NP near Las Vegas and have been here for 10 days so far. I only have a small system, 275 watts, plus four 6 volt house batteries, and still need the generator about one hour a day. The days are short and we have had several days with clouds. Other times of the year with the sun higher and longer in the sky I don't need the generator at all.
My daily routine includes making coffee, toast, using the microwave, watching TV, with an aux surround system going, in the evenings for about 5 hours or so. I usually leave the inverter on when I go to bed since I go to sleep with the TV on. I also recharge my toothbrush, razor and computer. We boondock about 1/4 of the time tops, so far. We like the idea that if we need power we just turn on the inverter and we have power. Our diesel genset will consume about 1/2 gal per hour at 50% load so with today's fuel costs that's about $2/hr. Then you have to add the cost of service at about $0.75 per hour for a total of about $2.75 per hour run time. I know that the small portable gas generators use a lot less fuel and service cost is minimal.
You just have to decide how you plan to camp. Solar panels cost about $2.50/watt or less. (you can get 100 watt panels at Costco for $250) A good MPPT charge controller will cost about $250 as well. Throw in another $200 for wire, brackets etc. A decent system would be 300-400 watts. Add another $1500 if you don't already have an inverter.
If you don't go solar and want a small generator, be sure to get one with remote start built in.