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Solar Panels for Campervans

Camper vans are mainly owner built and use 12v batteries for engine starting and domestic needs. Lead/acid batteries can be charged directly from the engine alternator. Lithium domestic batteries will need an alternator charger to avoid the risk of the alternator over-heating. Solar panels and an MPPT solar charger are an additional power source.

We urge you to look carefully at our power stations. Combined with flexible solar panels for campervans they offer a simple and versatile power source needing zero installation and a wide variety of 12 and 230v outputs. The cost of 2Kw units is not that much greater than the cost of an MPPT controller, a 2Kw lithium battery and a 2Kw inverter. They can also be charged either from roof mounted solar panels or from portable panels deployed as and when needed.

Limited roof space means that camper vans are unlikely to have more than 600w nominal of solar power.

There are 3 types of solar panels for campervans:

  1. rigid – the cheapest and the most efficient, but heavy
  2. flexible – three times the price but 3/4 the weight, and
  3. portable – the most expensive but needs no installation and can be deployed when and where needed.

In practice for camping vehicles, roof curve will usually militate in favour of flexible, but, despite the cost, the convenience of portable will convince many that they are the right solution – particularly for those having a power station. (See below).

Camper van solar panels can use three different ways to charge domestic batteries:

Simple Controllers.

These devices are connected to your solar array and their sole purpose is to charge your batteries. Two technical controller technologies are offered – PWM and MPPT. The former is cheaper but some 20% less efficient, and we do not advise it.

Our chosen suppliers are Epever and Ecoworthy. We have good personal experience with both and they are compatible with both lead/acid and lithium batteries for campervan solar setup. Capacities run from 20 to 60A and what you need is directly linked to the power output of your solar array. The output of a typical 400w 24v panel is 17A.

Hybrid Controller/Inverters
PowMr 12v 1500w solar hybrid inverter

combine the functions of MPPT solar charge controllers, mains charge controllers, and 230v mains inverter in a single, low-cost, easily installed unit.  With 12v batteries, the inverter output is however limited to 1500w.

Our chosen controller suppliers are Epever, EcoWorthy, and EASun with all of whom we have personal experience.

Power Stations

can be connected directly to your solar panels thanks to their built-in MPPT solar controller. However, like lithium batteries, they cannot easily be charged from an engine alternator.

THE RIGHT DECISION.

We are big fans of power stations for vans for their versatility and absence of installation costs, but lead/acid batteries charged by the engine alternator and either of the solar controller systems listed above are a fine alternative.

Camper vans will usually have the engine alternator connected directly to their domestic battery bank. With lead/acid that is fine, but not with lithium, that needs an expensive alternator battery charger for that to avoid over-loading the alternator. This is therefore the only market where we prefer lead/acid to lithium. Overall we think that camper van owners wanting significant energy storage should consider power stations as a better alternative.

Power Stations have long been the favourite of outdoor campers, as well as motorhome and camper van owners. With the greater storage and inverter capacities now available, they deserve the close attention of van owners.

In a single package,  they provide

  • MPPT solar controller, 
  • a large LifePo4 battery, and
  • extensive AC, DC, and USB power outlets.

They can be charged from solar, the mains, a generator, or another external battery. 

Power stations can be divided into three broad product types:

  1. Small portable units designed to be moved around for use as a mobile source of electricity. Most are usually charged by portable panels. They store 1Kw of electricity and offer the same inverter output.
  2. Medium-sized units with inverter and battery ratings of 2Kw.

The small portable 1Kw units are very keenly priced and provide a total energy solution for a camper van. The 2Kw models are also very keenly priced but keeping them charged from solar only may be a challenge.

Your Complete Campervan Solar Setup

Our Campervan Solar Expertise:

  • Beyond Traditional Solar: We understand that campervan owners often seek innovative solutions. Explore our selection of portable power stations – a versatile alternative to traditional solar setups.

  • Power Stations – Simple & Versatile: These compact power stations combine with flexible solar panels for campervans for a powerful, portable solution. Enjoy 12V and 230V outputs without the need for permanent installation.

  • Expert Guidance & Scalable Solutions: Our team is here to answer your questions, recommend the best solar solution for your campervan, and design systems that can grow with your energy needs.

Products for Camper Vans

  • Next Day dispatch

  • Delivery in 5 to 7 working days

  • 30 days money back guarantee

Products ideal for a comfortable life on the road

ALL useful products are presented. Click on one of the filter boxes below to see that product category only.

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2024-05-12T17:21:29+01:00

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