Solar panels for outdoor enthusiasts are increasingly becoming a must-have item as more and more people seek to turn to sustainable solutions to power their campervans for long-distance road trips.
A campervan solar panel is quite different from those suited for home setup as it has lesser watt output since they’re not meant to power many high-wattage appliances.
If you’re in the market looking for the best solar panel for campervan, we’re here to help. We’ll review the top-rated solar panels you can choose from. But before then, let’s discuss what you should consider when buying a solar panel for your campervan.
Best Solar Panels for Campervan Comparison
|Renogy 100 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Solar Panel
|DOKIO 110w 18v Solar Panel Kit
|SUNER POWER Mono 50W Solar Panel Van Kit
|Topsolar 100W Portable Foldable Solar Panel
Factors to Consider When Buying the Best Solar Panel for Campervan
Type of solar panel
You can find them in three main types, including:
- Rigid solar panels. These are often fitted onto vans’ roofs and have solar cells encased in different materials such as glass guarded by an aluminum frame.
- Portable solar panels. These are usually small and lightweight and thus ideal for those who go on a backpacking trip. They have a built-in charge controller that allows one to charge different devices simultaneously directly
- Flexible solar panels. These are made from flexible ultra-thin silicon wafers.
Size of solar panel
Majorly, the size of the solar panel correlates with the total watt output. Knowing the solar panel size you need depends on the appliances you’ll be powering in your campervan and the mounting space you have on the van’s rooftop.
Therefore, measure the size of your vans’ roof and work out your energy usage to know the right size of the solar panel you need.
Ease of fitting the solar panel
Different solar panels have different ways of mounting them. Make sure to go for one that’s easy to mount.
Here are things you’ll need for your solar panel to work seamlessly. The more they’re in your package, the better your choice.
- Charge control to regulate current and ensure your campervans solar panels do not overcharge your batteries
- Inverter to convert DC from your batteries to AC (current that can be used to power home appliances).
- Blade fuse box to distribute power amongst your appliances.
- Breaker to protect your circuit by interpreting electrical flow when there’s a short circuit or overload
These are the major components you need in your solar system for a campervan.
The cost of solar panels for campervans vary greatly, but certain characteristics affect pricing, including:
- Monocrystalline. Solar panels with monocrystalline solar cells tend to be more efficient than those made from polycrystalline cells, making the former pricier.
- Wattage. The wattage output of your solar panel has the most significant impact on the price tag.
Therefore, set your budget and compare different models in your price range.
With that in mind, we can discuss the best solar panel for campervans:
Renogy 100 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Solar Panel
Renogy is one of the most popular companies in the solar panel for RVs and vans niche, meaning that you can rarely go wrong by choosing one of the models. This 100W monocrystalline solar panel is one of the best solar panels for campervans as it boasts numerous features.
Firstly, it packs a small design, 19.9 x 27.2 x 2.8 inches, meaning it can fit in many vans’ rooftops. In addition, it’s made of long-lasting materials and thus will serve you for many years.
Renogy solar panel system is easy to set up, and its LCD screen makes it easier to see its operating information, which is a plus for first-time buyers.
It comes as a complete kit that includes a 100W solar suitcase, alligator clips, and 20A waterproof charge controller. In addition, you get a foldable solar bag to make it easier for you to carry and store the solar panel.
As the name suggests, this Renogy solar panel uses grade A+ monocrystalline solar cells to charge efficiency and safety. Multiple protection features, such as a charge controller, prevent your batteries from getting overcharged.
DOKIO 110w 18v Solar Panel Kit
If you’re traveling to areas that don’t seem to experience extreme weather, this can be your ideal option. It’s lightweight, easy to carry, and a waterproof casing protects its delicate panels while traveling.
The solar panel kit comes with a three meters cable length from the panels to the control and 12volt batteries.
With its high-efficiency monocrystalline solar cells, you can rest assured that you’ll get more power efficiency as these cells maximize system output.
On the downside, it’s important to mention that DOKIO 110 foldable solar panel is not the best option for people looking for a durable choice. If you travel to areas with extreme seasonal conditions or windy environments, the solar may come back scratched due to its shaky stand. However, the thin plastic layer protects the panels from getting scratched.
SUNER POWER Mono 50W Solar Panel Van Kit
As the name suggests, this is a 50W solar kit from Sunner Power and comes with everything you need to start enjoying off-grid power apart from the battery. For instance, it includes 50-watt monocrystalline solar cells and a waterproof charge controller, cable kits, battery rings, battery clamps, and bare wire. Also, you get a comprehensive user manual.
Sunny power takes durability seriously. For instance, they use an anodized aluminum frame to protect the panels. In addition, the solar panel is sealed to make it waterproof.
When you charge your battery using this solar panel, you won’t have to worry about overload, short-circuiting, or surge as there’s a waterproof charge controller.
The only downside we can point out is that this solar panel doesn’t indicate how long it takes to charge a battery fully.
Topsolar 100W Portable Foldable Solar Panel
If you’re looking for a solar panel charger kit to charge your generator power station and your Galaxy devices and iPhone, this is an ideal option.
By design, this is more like a collection of 12 solar panels with a fabric backing that collectively gives you 100W of power. The multiple folding points make them easier for you to stretch over your van’s roof.
The solar kit comes with everything you need to harvest and use the sun’s power. For instance, it comes with 10-in-1 DC connectors, cable with alligator clips, Cig lighter, and more.
As a monocrystalline panel, this solar panel kit has a high conversion rate (22%) due to the ETFE material. It’s made with high-quality scratch-resistant material, meaning that it will serve you for many years.
However, the wattage doesn’t get to what’s advertised.
All the above van solar panels require minimal care and maintenance and won’t overcharge your battery. They’re highly efficient in charging batteries and are pretty durable.
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