off-grid solar and wind power specialists

Solar Panels for Campervans and Motorhomes

solar pv modules installed on a motorhome

Motorhome, Campervan & Caravan Solar Panels

Modern caravans and motorhomes are increasingly using solar pv panels mounted on the roof to help keep the batteries charged. Solar powered battery charging enables the use of lighting, refrigeration, laptops and entertainment equipment miles away from the nearest mains connection. For many motorhome owners, true freedom is not being 'tied' to a power cable.

Solar panels are far more popular on a motorhome or campervan than a wind turbine, due to ease of use and mounting. Solar power also tends to suit the pattern of use, as most leisure vehicles are used more in the sunnier months of the year.

Solar pv modules are either installed flat onto the motorhome roof structure using small brackets, or fitted onto a tilting frame. A high strength bonding agent such as Sikaflex can be used to avoid roof penetrations.

The power from the solar panels normally feeds into a large 'domestic' battery. A solar charge controller or regulator is used between the panels and the batteries to prevent battery overcharging. The more advanced controllers provide the user with information such as the charging current, battery voltage and some will even record the solar pv system's performance over time.

The number and size of the solar panels to fit to a motorhome is often more dependant on the available installation space and budget, than on daily energy use. Most owners are simply looking to get as much charge as possible into the batteries.

Monocrystalline pv solar panels currently have a footprint of approximately 1205mm x 545mm for a 90w module, such as the ET Solar 90. Retail price for a module of this type is currently around 200 + VAT.

90W pv solar panel suitable for caravan or motorhome

We recommend that the warranty terms on the solar panels are carefully checked prior to purchase, as some major manufacturers, such as Kyocera, exclude mobile applications from their warranty.

There are quite often easy ways to save energy in a motorhome or caravan and this is the key to a well designed power system. High efficiency electrical devices or appliances can dramatically reduce the number of batteries and solar panels required.

~ freedom is not being 'tied' to a power cable ~

solar pv module installed on campervan

Energy Tips

We suggest replacing any inefficient halogen lights with 12v CFL or LED equivalents. Also consider the use of 12v PIR sensors to automate certain lights, minimising running times.

You can save lots of energy and therfore money by using ultra high efficiency appliances such as LCD TV's, T-Class Stereo Amplifiers and by minimising the use of AC inverters with the use of DC power.

To get the most out your solar panels, we suggest that you consider an 'MPPT' solar panel controller which under some conditions can give a 40% current boost. These controllers also make a good upgrade for an existing system and work especially well in cooler climates.

Blue Sky 25A MPPT solar pv charge controller

Solar Motorhome Video Links

Solar panel video links  Explorer Brian Brawdy with his eco motorhome.

Solar panel video links  A tilting pv array on a motorhome.

Adjustable tilt campervan mounting frame

Further Information

At the EDC, we design and supply off-grid power systems for commercial, domestic, leisure and marine applications. Our webstore features a wide range of pv solar panels, wind generators, batteries and DC to AC inverters.

This web site provides in-depth information regarding off-grid solar or wind power systems. Please feel free to look around and if you require any assistance please don't hesitate to contact us.

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