Do you want to achieve the long-awaited energy self-sufficiency in your camper? If so, your best option is to install a good solar installation. For this you will need a current regulator, a battery and, of course, a good solar panel. Read on and we will help you decide which solar panel will best suit your needs.
What is the BEST type of solar panel?
I guess you have already seen that there are many types of panels in the market: rigid, flexible, portable, monocrystalline, polycrystalline, etc. So you are probably wondering which one is the best for a camper van? Well, like everything in this world, it will depend on your needs, your electricity consumption, the use you give to your vehicle, your budget…
Our recommendation is that, if it is possible, both for comfort and performance, make a fixed solar installation. A portable solar panel is only suitable in very specific situations:
- If you use the van as a regular vehicle and do not want to have a fixed solar panel on the roof.
- If your electricity consumption is very low.
- If your budget is very tight.
- If your van trips are very short.
Which solar panel is better monocrystalline or polycrystalline?
When you decide whether you are going to buy a rigid solar panel, a flexible or semi-flexible solar panel or a portable solar charger, you will have to choose whether to buy it with monocrystalline or polycrystalline cells. Your choice should depend on several factors, so if you still don’t know how they differ or which one best suits your needs, click on the link, read our post and decide Monocrystalline or polycrystalline solar panel?
Which solar panel do I need to charge a 12V battery?
A priori, the logical thing would be to tell you that you need a solar panel that is also 12V, but with a solar regulator you could use one that is, for example, 24V. The only thing you need is that the voltage delivered by the plate is equal or higher than those of your battery.
On the other hand, if you had a battery that works at 24V, you could connect two 12V panels in series and get 24V at the output, since their voltages would add up.
How to install a solar panel on a camper or motorhome?
It is possible that, if you do not have much idea of electricity, you may think that doing the solar installation of your van yourself is a much more complicated task than it really is. It is true that you need to have some basic electrical concepts clear and that you have to follow a series of steps when it comes to the installation, but if you pay attention, follow our step by step guide to install a solar panel in a camper and ask for help if you think you need it, everything will go smoothly!
Where to buy a solar panel at the best price?
You may already know that there are a multitude of companies that sell products for camper vans with a wide variety of products and price ranges. The truth is that we often go directly to Amazon, as they provide a great service. They have very competitive prices and very fast delivery. And since you don’t lose anything by taking a look, here is a link that will take you to a list of the best solar panels offered by Amazon.
Why install a solar panel on a camper or motorhome?
If at this point you are still not convinced of the many benefits of having a photovoltaic system on your van, that’s okay! And as we do not want to try to convince you of anything, but to draw your own conclusions, we will leave you a list of both the advantages and disadvantages that we consider when making the decision to have a solar panel in our camper.
Advantages of installing a solar panel
- It will considerably increase our energy self-sufficiency.
- We will not need to go to camp sites to charge the battery so much, which will allow us to enjoy nature more.
- It will give us the possibility of having more electrical consumables.
- It will make us less dependent on gas.
- We will not need to turn on the van so much to charge the battery with the alternator.
- We will consume an electric energy generated in a self-sustainable and clean way.
Disadvantages of installing a solar panel
- It requires an initial outlay and work.
- The van will attract more attention by having a solar panel on the roof.
- Increases the risk of theft.
- Takes up roof space that cannot be used for other things.
Who invented the solar panel?
If you are a curious person, like me 😳, and think that knowledge takes up no place, you might be interested to know that, although the photovoltaic effect was discovered by the French physicist Alexandre-Edmond Becquerel in 1839, the creator of the first solar cell was Charles Fritts, an American inventor who, in 1883, coated a sample of semiconductor selenium with gold leaf to form a primitive photovoltaic cell with 1% efficiency.