A Beginners Guide – How to Choose the Right Caravan Solar Panels

A Beginners Guide – How to Choose the Right Caravan Solar Panels

What do you see when you visualize your ideal vacation? Are you soaking in the sun at the beach, or do you see yourself actively exploring the incredible bounty of jaw-dropping natural wonders Australia offers for those willing to go off the beaten track? 

“Freedom”, isn’t that what you’re looking for when you purchase a caravan? The ability to move freely. The absence of the mundane. To have the freedom to pursue your dreams.

Getting adequate power for your caravan can be a problem if you take the road less travelled. Your options are limited; a generator can be costly, noisy, stinky, and not good for the environment. At RV Services, we are dedicated to staying on top of the latest trends in the caravan market. We are big fans of solar panels. It never ceases to amaze us how effective, efficient, and cost-effective caravan solar panels have become. They complement any caravan setup that looks to minimize environmental damage without compromising on the outdoor experience. People gravitate to the idea because it promises greener energy and significant cost savings. In Australia, almost 1.8 million solar panels have been deployed, and they are fast becoming popular in the caravan industry.

Installing caravan solar panels is straightforward, and you can use them to charge your devices and heat your water. You may even go completely off the grid without using energy. Some upfront investment is required, but the savings and other benefits are well worth it.

Common Types of Solar Panels

Solar photovoltaic panels are typically constructed of silicon. The following panel kinds can be distinguished:

  • Monocrystalline solar panels are the most efficient but also the costliest. They are usually black, covered with toughened glass, and packaged in aluminium frames or with built-in foldable blankets.
  • Polycrystalline: somewhat less efficient than monocrystalline but less expensive. They produce less voltage than monocrystalline ones but operate better in low-light circumstances. They’re also available as single tiles in metal frames and foldable blankets.
  • Thin-film (amorphous) solar panels are about half as efficient as monocrystalline panels, but they are also the most affordable. They are usually brown and contain no glass.

Thin-film panels perform better in high-temperature, and low-light settings and are less susceptible to shading than mono- and polycrystalline panels, but they require many more panels to produce the same amount of power.

Their flexibility is a great plus, as they can be bent, rolled, and even folded.

These panels often have a lower lifespan and are covered by a shorter warranty. They are not as delicate as crystalline panels, but they need to be cleaned regularly because their uneven surface prevents self-cleaning.

Basic Caravan Solar System

Though it may appear intimidating at first, the solar system for a caravan is less complicated than you may expect. The solar panel, regulator, battery, and inverter are the four major components of a system. To charge the battery, the solar panel transforms sunlight into DC electricity. The regulator ensures correct battery charging and is not damaged by overcharging or over-discharging. The charge is stored in the battery, which can be used to power DC equipment directly. If you use AC appliances, you also require an inverter. The inverter converts the DC power to AC for your appliances. You can protect your battery by linking some DC appliances to the regulator.

Which Caravan Solar Panel is Best?

The type of solar panels appropriate for a caravan is mainly determined by the equipment you want to power and how long you want them to run.

For example, suppose your electricity needs are limited to charging a phone and turning on a few LED lights. In that case, a solar array of inexpensive polycrystalline or even thin-film panels should suffice.

High-efficiency panels, ideally monocrystalline ones, are required if you use more powerful devices for a longer amount of time, such as a small TV set and a car fridge.

Solar panels can be fixed (on the roof) or moveable (on the ground). Both choices are viable for your caravan.

Monocrystalline panels are always chosen over thin-film panels when space is limited. However, if you decide to utilize monocrystalline solar panels for your caravan, ensure they have complete access to sunshine. Roof-mounted solar panels restrict you from parking in shaded, cool locations, and are also less adjustable.

Caravan Solar Panel Connections and Wiring

Some solar panels use MC4 connectors, which make waterproof wiring simple. Connectors are easily available and are simple to install. Adapters allow two cables to be joined into one, a simple method for connecting any number of panels to a single pair of cables. If a failure arises, this provides an ideal junction for testing.

The wire thickness necessary for your solar panels to be connected to a solar regulator will be determined by the instructions with the solar regulator; however, RV applications often use 6-mm square UV stabilized wire. The regulator and the first battery can be connected using the same thickness wire. It would be best to connect batteries with readymade battery leads from car parts suppliers. You would also attach a large inverter, such as a 2000w inverter, to the battery bank through battery leads.

Connecting Multiple Solar Panels

The chances are that you may want to upgrade to a more powerful system if you find your camper solar panel good. While it is best to go for a powerful solar system at the initial installation, it is pretty simple to do if you have the space.  You can get in touch with us at https://www.rvservices.com.au/contact/ if you need to know more about how to improve your existing caravan solar system.

You can double the storage by using two or more batteries. You can also double the power to the battery by connecting two or more panels in parallel. Larger inverters offer higher voltage to your devices. However, purchasing additional batteries isn’t always essential; a two-battery setup is usually sufficient for regular camping. An ideal location for your batters would be at the floor level, above the axle. Connecting multiple sources to charge your batteries is the most reliable method.

If you do this, you’ll have to use a smart solar panel system for your setup. High-end equipment is expensive. It is best to make sure how powerful the solar system is before you commit to anything. Is it enough for your power requirements, and will it suffice for your needs?

Solar System with Inverter

A caravan inverter converts DC (direct current) from your 12V battery system into AC (alternating current) while on the road, allowing you to use your 240V equipment.

Using a comprehensive solar system with an inverter can be daunting at first. But many vacationers worldwide have learned to love this system and are enjoying the energy it provides! So, taking into effect that it is a good alternative for clean energy on and off the grid. You can look at it for your energy needs while travelling. While assessing a whole solar system with an inverter, here are some things to keep in mind.

  • You must first charge your battery with a battery charger when 240 volts are available. A multi-stage charger is the best charger. The higher amperage output the charger has, the faster it will recharge.
  • Solar panels will provide a current from the sun. The regulator will try to supply current to any 12-volt devices directly connected to it first. The remaining will be utilized to charge the batteries.
  • Finally, gadgets that operate on 12 volts can be directly linked to batteries. Better solar regulators will keep your batteries from being overcharged.

The majority of systems now have an inverter directly connected to the batteries. This is particularly important for folks who use solar panels when on the go.

What Should You Do?

When it comes to camping, the possibility of avoiding the requirement for a powered site can be a great thing. A caravan is meant to free you from constantly having to depend on other factors and be able to live by yourself. You may remain in a remote location without the risk of losing power, or you can avoid the additional cost of electricity. In either case, investing in a solar caravan system is a great option. Visit http://www.rvservices.com.au/solar-battery-systems-generators/ to learn more about the great options we offer you for powering your caravan. You can get customized power solutions from our team too. We are just a call away at https://www.rvservices.com.au/contact/. Our website provides you with all the information you might require regarding caravan purchasing, servicing and modifications.

Also Read: Solar Panels for Your Caravan – Everything You Need To Know

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