Yes, you absolutely should!

If something can give you free power then I believe it’s worth the investment, especially when you are on the move all the time and may not have a suitable power source!

What types of Solar Panel are best for a campervan

There are three main types of solar panels you can use for your campervan or motorhome, these are:

Rigid Solar Panels: A rigid solar panel is a type of photovoltaic (PV) module which is designed to be mounted on the roof or on the top of a campervan. The main advantage of this type of solar panel is that it can withstand heavy snow and other forms of weathering, thus prolonging its lifecycle and increasing its overall efficiency.

This type of solar panel is ideal for those who live in colder climates and who want to live off-grid as well as for any campervans travelling through landscapes with heavy snowfall.

While these panels are not recommended for use where there are high levels of humidity, they do allow you to power your campervan even when there’s no sun in sight.

Flexible Solar Panels: Flexible solar panels, also known as rollable solar panels, are a new and promising technology. They are created from polycrystalline silicon on a thin flexible substrate made of PET or PP plastic.

They can be rolled up like carpeting or fabric and stored in an easy to carry case. Once they are unrolled they can be attached to the roof of a vehicle with Velcro strips that run along the edges of the panel so that it is held down firmly on top of the car’s surface.

This type of solar panel is useful for people who may want to use their campervan or RV as an emergency shelter in case disaster strikes such as Hurricane Katrina where electricity was knocked out due to high winds and flooding.

Flexible solar panels were designed specifically for people who might need emergency power in their campervan or RV but there is still more research needed before these items will become more widely available on the market and cost less money because they are currently fairly expensive when compared with traditional rigid PV modules which have been around for many years longer than this new design has been developed.

Portable Solar Panels: These are really for people who cant add solar to the roof of a campervan but still want to make use of the suns power, these can be folded out and placed on the ground, great for people who only need a small amount of power and great for smaller vans.

Portable Solar Panels: These are really for people who cant add solar to the roof of a campervan but still want to make use of the suns power, these can be folded out and placed on the ground, great for people who only need a small amount of power and great for smaller vans.

What do we have

We have 480W of solar power. We have 2 panels, one is 360W and the other is 120W. We had an idea that we wanted around 500W of power to ensure that we had enough for what we needed, which is why we tried to get as close to that as possible with 480W, and the two panels that we have are the ones that fitted best on our roof space.

An exact list of the equipment that we got for our solar set up is –

  • 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.ukz

if your thinking how much solar do you need, check out our full post on this by clicking the text

130w Monocrystalline Solar Panel (102x68cm) CraigSolar.co.uk
Victron Energy SmartSolar MPPT 100V 30 amp 12/24-Volt Solar Charge Controller (Bluetooth)
Solar Double Cable Entry Gland, Waterproof Solar Photovoltaic Plastic Bracket Curved Cable Connector ABS Dual Cable Entry Housing for Solar Panels of RV, Caravan Boat
CraigSolar.co.uk Solar Cable Pair of 5M 4mm2 cable Red/Black with Mc4 plugs attached
Mounting Bracket X4 (WHITE) CraigSolar.co.uk
130w Monocrystalline Solar Panel (102x68cm) CraigSolar.co.uk
Victron Energy SmartSolar MPPT 100V 30 amp 12/24-Volt Solar Charge Controller (Bluetooth)
Solar Double Cable Entry Gland, Waterproof Solar Photovoltaic Plastic Bracket Curved Cable Connector ABS Dual Cable Entry Housing for Solar Panels of RV, Caravan Boat
CraigSolar.co.uk Solar Cable Pair of 5M 4mm2 cable Red/Black with Mc4 plugs attached
Mounting Bracket X4 (WHITE) CraigSolar.co.uk
Price not available
£199.99
£6.98
£23.99
£14.99
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-
-
-
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130w Monocrystalline Solar Panel (102x68cm) CraigSolar.co.uk
130w Monocrystalline Solar Panel (102x68cm) CraigSolar.co.uk
Price not available
-
Victron Energy SmartSolar MPPT 100V 30 amp 12/24-Volt Solar Charge Controller (Bluetooth)
Victron Energy SmartSolar MPPT 100V 30 amp 12/24-Volt Solar Charge Controller (Bluetooth)
£199.99
-
Solar Double Cable Entry Gland, Waterproof Solar Photovoltaic Plastic Bracket Curved Cable Connector ABS Dual Cable Entry Housing for Solar Panels of RV, Caravan Boat
Solar Double Cable Entry Gland, Waterproof Solar Photovoltaic Plastic Bracket Curved Cable Connector ABS Dual Cable Entry Housing for Solar Panels of RV, Caravan Boat
£6.98
-
CraigSolar.co.uk Solar Cable Pair of 5M 4mm2 cable Red/Black with Mc4 plugs attached
CraigSolar.co.uk Solar Cable Pair of 5M 4mm2 cable Red/Black with Mc4 plugs attached
£23.99
-
Mounting Bracket X4 (WHITE) CraigSolar.co.uk
Mounting Bracket X4 (WHITE) CraigSolar.co.uk
£14.99
-

Understanding your Power usage

Your Lesuire battery produces 12V to power your campervans electrics, so to work out how much power it will drain from your campervan batteries, take its power rating and divide by 12.

For example, a 19W Iphone charger draws a current of 19W divided by 12V = 1.583A. If you left this on charge for 4 hours a day and you will need 1.583 x 4 = 7Ah every day from your battery to power that single Iphone charger

So this is a great way to work out the biggest items that will be drawing the most power on a daily basis, and see how much power you might be consuming.

Campervan Power, energy and capacity

Power in watts (W) = current in amps (A) x voltage in volts (V)

Energy in watt hours (Wh) = power in watts (W) x time in hours (h)

Battery capacity in amp hours (Ah) = energy in watt hours (Wh) / voltage in volts (V)

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