Are you looking for a way in which you can ensure that your motorhome or campervan has power, without having to rely on hooking up to electricity? Are you looking to go off-grid more? Do you want to make the most of a free source of energy? Then it sounds like solar panels are what you need.
Solar Panels are a great way to add something productive and efficient to your motorhome or camper and the kind of customisation that pays off in real-world benefits.
There are a tonne of reasons that solar panels are a great addition to your Motorhome or Campervan. They’re eco-friendly, energy-saving, money-saving, easy to maintain, and they run quietly, avoiding the noise of generators.
It’s also a great time to make the jump from gas-powered or AC power into solar panels as the technology is constantly improving. Solar panels are no longer extremely heavy, bulky, and undependable devices of the past.
Keep reading to find out the benefits of having solar panels on your motorhome, and also the best solar panels on the market.
Why are Solar Panels Beneficial for Motorhome / Campervan Owners?
There are a lot of good reasons to add solar panels to your motorhome or campervan. In fact, we can’t really think of any bad ones!
You Get Power For FREE
We are big on getting things for free, when you are living full time van life or even just going away for a weekend in your campervan, the cost of living is expensive and so it’s always good to get something for free.
So with the price of power going up and camp sites prices going up, having a great solar package is really important.
We tried to get as much as could on the roof of our motorhome to maximise and harness the power of the sun.
There are some significant upfront costs to purchase and install a solar panel system, especially if you want it to become the primary source of power for your motorhome. However, it’s not much more—and in some instances, it’s less—than the cost of a premium generator. You will reap the benefits in the long run.
Also, with a generator, you have a finite energy source that has to be frequently replaced with fuel, which costs more money in the long term. None of that includes the fact that generators require far more maintenance and repairs can be very costly.
Our Motorhome Solar Panel Set-Up
These are the items that we bought for our motorhome when we installed our solar panels. Depending on how many solar panels you have, you may need to purchase more cables and brackets to suit, but the control panel should regulate all of your solar power.
You can see our motorhome in the image above, we have the following equipment for our solar set up –
- 1 x 360W Solar Panel
- 1 x 120w Solar Panel
- 1 x Victron Energy SmartSolar MPPT 100V 30 amp 12/24-Volt Solar Charge Controller (Bluetooth)
- 2 x CraigSolar.co.uk Solar Cable Pair of 5M 4mm2 cable Red/Black with Mc4 plugs attached
- 2 x Solar Double Cable Entry Gland
- 2 x Mounting Bracket X4 (WHITE) CraigSolar.co.uk
Once you have all of the tools necessary and everything is installed, you’re good to go and the only maintenance that you will have to concern yourself about is keeping your solar panels nice and clean to keep them working efficiently.
Speaking of keeping your solar panels clean, the maintenance required on solar panels is negligible in comparison to owning generators. With generators, repairs are usually pretty expensive and it generally means it will be labour-intensive.
That’s not to mention the amount of fuel required. With solar panels, there are two levels of concern when it comes to taking care of them. The first one is keeping your batteries in top condition, checking for corrosion, and keeping them topped off.
Also, you want to keep the solar panels clean. You don’t need anything special to do the cleaning either. You want to keep dirt, debris, snow, mud, sticks, and leaves clear from your solar panels at all times.
The best part is that there is no fuel involved, no spark plugs, no oil changes, and no air filters that will ever need changing, adding to, or any additional maintenance.
There’s something to be said about not consistently burning fuel and oil in order to power your motorhome needs. Solar panels only need sunlight and they will deliver the power you need quietly, efficiently, and cleanly.
There is a valid argument to be made concerning the chemicals that go into manufacturing solar panels. They are highly toxic to humans and wildlife in general, however, so long as you are responsible and you maintain your solar panels and don’t toss them on the side of the road, this shouldn’t be a cause for concern.
Best Solar Panels for Motorhomes/Campers
Are Solar Panels on a Campervan Worth It?
Solar panels on campervans are worth it if you want to minimise your expenses. Solar panels are the perfect solution for people who want the freedom of living off-grid in their campervan or motorhome, or just to have that extra source of power.
Although it may be a cost initially to get set up, in the long term, the benefits far outweigh the initial cost.
A solar panel can provide all necessary electricity for a campervan or a motorhome, and solar panels will also charge your leisure battery.
More Freedom of Movement
There may be some really nice campsites out there that you would completely miss out on if you are wholly dependant on generators for your power consumption, as some campsites don’t allow them.
With solar panels, you can have all of the power and luxuries of a generator in a campsite that won’t allow them.
You also have the ability to go off-grid a lot more, and not have to rely on campsites at all.
If you’d like to know more about other people’s solar panel set up, we have contacted several van life YouTubers to find out about theirs, and you can find out more here – How Much Solar Do I Need In My Motorhome / Campervan?
No more generators breaking the peace and quiet of nature. Of course, if you park your motorhome/camper in a major campsite, there will always be the typical hustle and bustle of other campers within the park.
Even so, the quiet that replaces the constant noise of a roaring generator is a little bit of bliss in and of itself. If you want to use solar power as a primary source of power, you’ll have to install multiple panels, enough to keep your batteries charged to peak throughout the day.
There are far more positive reasons to install a solar panel system on your motorhome or campervan than negative ones. If you decide to go with a solar system, you’ll have more versatility on the road and it will give you that go-anywhere mentality.
Solar panels are unique in that they are the perfect, portable accommodation for a portable lifestyle travelling across the country.
Keep up with our full time van life travels over on our YouTube channel! If you enjoy our videos please give us a thumbs up and subscribe to our channel 🙂 – Three As A Bird – Vanlife Travel – YouTube
You can take a look at some of our other van life posts which include lots and lots of hints and tips on all things van life here – Van Life – Travel Information, Hints, Tips and Advice (threeasabird.com)
If you’d like to follow more of our adventures or keep up to date with our travel hints and tips, please join our Facebook group, we’d love to connect with you all! –https://www.facebook.com/groups/309295536220437
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I have always wanted to travel and luckily I always got to travel to some amazing countries while I was growing up with my family and this really encouraged me to continue this and get out into the world on my own when I was older.
My goal growing up was really to see as much of the world as I could, but then I started going to work and really concentrating on my career and travel took a back seat. I still tried to get away a few times a year but I always knew there was an end goal which was to travel as much as possible.
So I got my head down and worked as hard as I could as an e-commerce manager. I have always been techy, I love computers and websites, so that’s where it gave me the idea to start this blog and also have my own web design agency. If you want to check it out or need any help then please take a look rrwebdesign.co.uk (shameless plug there)
But after covid, we both knew this was now the right time to take the leap and go and see the world after being trapped inside our house and working from home for a couple of years. We realised more than ever that you only get one life and you really need to make the most of it and do what you love!