Campervan Solar Panels

Campervan Solar Panels

Getting the correct solar panels installed for your needs isn’t necessarily a difficult job. However, with lots of bad advice, cheap kits and have-a-go heroes out there you may prefer a professional installation of high-quality solar panels. While we know many competent DIYers who do an excellent job of installing solar panels to their van, we too often see them incorrectly size their solar array. 

In a recent survey by climbing van, it was found that 82.5% of people failed to correctly size their solar array. 

 When we design your system, we take into account a huge amount of parameters to accurately calculate the exact specifications of the leisure battery bank, inverter, solar array and other components required to suit your needs.

Further inforamation

How do solar panels work?

Solar panels are made of photovoltaic cells, made from a material such as silicon. When Photons ( particles of light) reach the solar panel, they knock the electrons within the silicon free, generating electricity. Solar panels are a great choice for van life because the sun is essentially an endless source of power. Making them perfect for charging your leisure batteries whilst out on adventures.

When deciding on what solar panels to install on your campervan, you want to spend some time thinking about what your needs are.  The type of solar panel you require will depend on both your usage and your vehicle.

There are two main types of fixed solar panels available. However, portable solar panels are also available if you don’t want a solar panel permanently fixed on your vehicle.

Rigid solar panels

Rigid solar panels are typically made of either monocrystalline or polycrystalline cells. Generally have an aluminium frame and a protective glass facade which protects them from damage and the weather. Rigid solar panels are mounted to the roof of your campervan using mounting brackets and tend to be fairly efficient.

Flexible solar panels

Flexible solar panels are lightweight, thin and bendable, making them easy to mount to your campervan roof and are typically glued or taped to the roof of a van. They have a very low profile, meaning you usually can’t see them from ground level. Flexible panels can be useful if you have an older van with a very curved or undulating roof that could make fitting standard panels difficult.

However, the application of glueing the panels directly to the roof can, in some cases, cause problems. Solar panels should be mounted with a gap between the panel and the roof of the van. Allowing the panel to keep cool and avoid creating a heat sink, prolonging the life of the solar panel.

Portable solar panels

We typically see portable solar panels used to charge power banks or charge a 12V leisure battery by using a charge controller. They can be folded open and placed in the sun when you are stationary, and conveniently stored back inside the campervan when not in use. 

If you’re not sure what is best for you or your campervan, get in touch and we will be happy to help.

How many solar panels do I need?

Once you have decided if you are opting for the flexible or rigid panels, next we need to work out how many solar panels are needed and what the combined wattage will be. Of course, the more solar panels you install, the more power you will be able to generate. However, filling your entire roof with solar panels can prove to be expensive and not necessarily very efficient with our typical British weather!

When deciding on how many solar panels to install, we need to consider many factors. Starting with the capacity of your leisure batteries, other recharging methods in your camper, the time of year and where you usually travel in your campervan.

Once this is decided all that’s left to do is to get the panels installed. Our team has had plenty of practice and will install your new Solar System efficiently and with great attention to detail. Leaving you and your campervan ready for your next adventure.

If you have any questions or would like any further information then please get in touch 

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