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
The power from the solar panels normally feeds into a large
'domestic' battery. A solar
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
90. Retail price for a module of this type is currently
around £ 200 + VAT.
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 ~
We suggest replacing any inefficient halogen lights with 12v
CFL or LED equivalents. Also consider the use of 12v
sensors to automate certain lights, minimising running
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
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.
Solar Motorhome Video Links
Brian Brawdy with his eco motorhome.
tilting pv array on a motorhome.
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
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