Motorhome & Caravan Solar Panels
Modern caravans and motorhomes are increasingly using solar
electric panels mounted on the roof to help keep the batteries charged.
Solar power enables the use of lighting, refridgeration, laptops and
entertainment equipment miles away from the nearest mains connection.
motorhome owners, true freedom is not being 'tied' to a power cable.
Solar panels are far more popular on a vehicle 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
Solar pv modules are either installed flat onto the 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
Retail price for a module of this type is currently around £ 275 + 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
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
Amplifiers and by minimising the use of AC inverters with the use
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.
Solar Motorhome Video Links
Explorer Brian Brawdy
with his eco motorhome.
A tilting pv array on
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 solar panels, wind generators, batteries and inverters.
This web site provides in-depth information
solar or wind power systems. Please feel free to look around and if you
require any assistance please don't hesitate to contact us.