Solar Panels for your van, campervan or kombi
This is a very interesting topic that we will cover, as having a Solar Panel on your van, campervan or kombi is actually quite rare to see. Here at Wildworx, we are more than happy to recommend and discuss with you different types of solar panels available for your van. Getting solar panels that turn sunlight into electricity is a great way to recharge your batteries on the go and reduce carbon footprint!
What is a solar panel?
Solar Panel is also known as a ‘PV panel’, these are used to convert light from the sun into electricity that can be used to power electrical loads. By installing solar panels to your campervan or kombi you can generate your own renewable electricity.
How do solar panels work?
Each Solar Panel is made from layers of semi-conducting material, this is usually silicon, phosphorus (which provides the negative charge) and boron (which provides the positive charge). Solar panels absorb the sunlight and in doing so initiate the electric current.
Different types of solar panels available for your van, campervan or kombi
Before getting all kitted out with solar panels and all the parts needed. You have to think about the best suited Solar Panel for your type of van, campervan or kombi. Let’s take a look at the different types available on the market right now.
There is a choice between fixed or portable panels. A Fixed Solar Panel can be mounted to the roof or the side of your van. This way they’ll be always exposed to the sun, so they’ll be charging while you are driving too. Whereas, portable solar panels are stored in your camper van while driving and you can only position them at the campsite or wherever you have stopped, towards the sun. We have noticed that many owners of campervans or kombis that have limited space on the exterior choose to go for the portable solar panels instead of fixed solar panels.
As well as having to decide on the above, you also need to decide what type of Solar Panel gathering cell is used in the solar panels. Let’s take a look at the two options. Monocrystalline cells are from a single source of silicon, which means they are more efficient but tend to be more expensive too. This Solar Panel is also smaller and more compact. In comparison to Polycrystalline, these have blended silicon, which means they are cheaper and less efficient. It’s probably nice that they are cheaper but you need to consider the fact that because they are less efficient you’ll need to get more panels to get the same power that a Monocrystalline Solar Panel would give you.
When researching solar panels you’ll need to look at the amount of WATT that the panels come in, this can be either 50W, 100W or 200W power. To work out the number of watts you need depends on what you are going to use the Solar Panel for. The daily power consumption is referred to as watt-hours (Wh). There are a lot of calculators online to find out how much power you need, so please do check them out! If you are not quite understanding it all, our technicians will be more than happy to talk you through.
Last but not least, the weight and size must be considered. As each van, campervan or kombi can mount x amount of weight onto the roof or side on the exterior to support the weight. But also consider the extra weight you’d be able to store inside, if you have chosen to go with a portable Solar Panel.
When buying solar panels it’s important to see if any additional equipment is included with the panels. For example, a portable Solar Panel needs a charge controller, connecting cords and clips. We have found that not every manufacturer includes them and they need to be purchased separately. If you have chosen to mount your solar panels then you will need a charge controller and mounting hardware. Again, as mentioned above please check if they are included within the panels or not. Rigid panels can also be attached to a tilting mount. These will be worth checking out as they can increase the solar capacity by 25% by allowing them to directly face the sun.
Benefits of using a Solar Panel
They are a practical way to produce electricity. If you have been thinking about living ‘off-grid’, which means living at a location that is not serviced by the mail electric utility grid then don’t look any further! The greatest benefit that you would consider from using solar power is that it is a clean and renewable source of energy, helping global climate change and reduce the carbon footprint. A Solar Panel requires little maintenance and can last for deceased when properly maintained.
Drive off in style!
You can now begin the journey of driving and generating your own renewable electricity! If you have any more questions that you would like to discuss with one of us here at Wildworx, you are more than welcome to give us a call on 01527 359 002 or email us at email@example.com