Everything you need to know about the camper solar panel

If you are thinking about installing a camper solar panel on your motorhome, you are in the right place! We tell you everything you need to know.

The solar panels for campervan not only helps you to be in perfect harmony with the environment, but it will also solve any kind of access issue to electrical power. In one hour we use about 45 Amps, however, driving for one hour, will only recharge the battery about 8 Amps. This situation often forces us to have to plan our trip around campsites where we can spend the night and charge our campers. For this reason, the solar panel for campers have become an indispensable energy source that allows us to charge the auxiliary battery. In addition, by constantly recharging the battery without having to turn on the camper, it does not let it complete its cycle, thus extending its use.

Before installing solar panels on your campervan, it is useful to know what type is suitable for your motorhome, its price and how to install the camper solar panel, among other aspects.

What type of camper solar panel is the right one for your motorhome?

First, it is important to differentiate between thermal solar panels, whose collected solar energy powers a water heater, and photovoltaic solar panels, which transform solar energy into electricity. Thus, photovoltaic solar panels are the ones we are most interested in.

Photovoltaic solar panels are divided into three categories:

  1. With monocrystalline silicon cells: these solar panels are best suited to the needs and characteristics of motorhomes, offering higher performance. In addition, they react to low levels of UV rays, producing energy even in winter. 
  2. With amorphous silicon cells: They are recognized by their brown colour and their performance is low, so they are not very suitable for use in motorhomes. 
  3. With polycrystalline silicon cells: They are recognized by their blue colour, and their performance is low when the sun shines weakly.

What power does the camper solar panel need to have?

The power of the camper solar panel that you should use will depend on the energy needs you have. Finding out is as easy as making an inventory of the electronic devices you have in your camper, time of use times the power usage in Watts and adding up all the electronic devices. To be more precise about the results, we recommend that you search the Internet for information on each of them. This way, you will be able to choose the right camper solar panel according to your needs. However, we recommend that you choose a solar panel with a higher power than what you think you might need so that you do not have future problems.

Advantages of having a camper solar panel

There are numerous advantages to a camper solar panel, which can be multiplied if you want to make your motorhome profitable. 

First, solar panels have little impact on the environment and therefore do not generate waste or fuel. The camper solar panel adapts to any vehicle, so you will not have to worry about which one to select to best fit your camper. They also have a longevity of up to 20 years! Although they do not require any maintenance, it is important to clean them from time to time in order to increase their performance. This makes it an economically profitable investment in addition to the fact that its main objective is to save energy and, therefore, money. And, undoubtedly, one of the main advantages is the independence that it will give you in your motorhome route since you do not have to worry about finding a place to recharge your batteries. What more could you ask for? It’s a marvel! 

Solar panels for campervan prices

The price of the camper solar panel kit varies according to the energy needs you have and, consequently, the power you have. Thus, prices range from £200 to £500. Having two solar panels on your camper greatly improves the efficiency of your campervan. When installing camper solar panels, it does not need to be done by a professional, although it is advisable. If you decide to seek the help of a professional, the installation can cost around €500. However, as we have mentioned, it has a longevity of 20 years.

Camper solar panel installation

The installation of the camper solar panel can also be done by you. Before starting, you must take into account that the camper solar panel will be glued on the roof of your motorhome and it must be attached to a regulator. This is essential to manage the recharge and will prevent the battery from over heating. The regulator will also be attached to the battery of your motorhome. 

1. If you use the motorhome in summer, placing the plate flat on the roof is enough to have energy resources for your trip. However, we advise you to tilt the panel a little for winter use. 

2. Another thing to keep in mind during the installation of your camper solar panel is that the air must be able to circulate underneath it. This will prevent overheating the panel and allow water to drain off the roof. 

3. You can also count on the help of a professional for its installation. This way you can maximize the energy gains thanks to their knowledge.

This is a great way to make the most of it, because if you decide to campervan hire, the good condition of your vehicle will attract the attention of other adventurers – something that will not only earn you extra money! In our blog “Why should you rent out your campervan?” you will find other reasons that will help you make your decision.

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Laia Cerdán