The Ultimate Guide to Camper Van Solar Panels

Joe Brennan
Jun 21, 2023

Taking road trips and camping adventures to the next level involves having the right gear, and one of the most efficient ways to ensure a steady power supply is by using camper van solar panels. In this comprehensive guide, brought to you by Going Solar, a premier solar panel installation company in Ireland, we will dive into everything you need to know about camper van solar panels. By the time you finish reading, you will have an in-depth understanding of solar panels for camper vans, how to choose them, and the benefits they offer.

What are Camper Van Solar Panels?

Camper van solar panels are specially designed photovoltaic cells that convert sunlight into electricity. This electricity can power appliances and devices within the camper van, ensuring a reliable power source while on the move or camping.

Why Go Solar in Your Camper Van?

There are several reasons why installing solar panels on your camper van is a smart choice:


Reduce your carbon footprint by using renewable energy.


Save on fuel and campground electrical fees.


Experience the freedom of camping anywhere without relying on electrical hookups.

Low maintenance

Solar panels require little to no maintenance once installed.

How Do Camper Van Solar Panels Work?

Solar panels on your camper van capture sunlight and convert it into electricity. This electricity is sent to a charge controller, which regulates the power flow to the batteries. The stored energy in the batteries can be used to power devices and appliances through an inverter that converts DC power to AC.

Why We Need Camper Van Solar Panels?

Convenience and Comfort

Camper van solar panels ensure a steady supply of electricity, which translates to convenience and comfort during your travels. Solar panels provide the energy needed for these amenities, whether it’s powering your fridge to keep your food fresh, charging your devices, or even running a heater on cold nights.

Unleash the Adventurer in You

With solar panels, you are not tied to campgrounds or places with electrical hookups. This freedom enables you to explore more remote locations. The ability to go off-grid opens up a new world of adventure.

Long-term Savings

Though the initial cost can be a deterrent for some, in the long run, camper van solar panels prove to be a cost-effective investment. You save on campground fees and fuel for generators, and since the sun's energy is free, your ongoing costs are virtually nil.

Environmental Benefits

Using solar panels significantly reduces your carbon footprint. Unlike generators, solar panels do not emit harmful gases. This makes them a green alternative that’s beneficial for the environment.

Calculating Your Campervan Power Usage

Before selecting your camper van solar panels, it’s essential to understand your energy needs. This ensures that you choose a system capable of fulfilling your requirements.

List Your Appliances and Devices

List all the appliances and devices you'll use in your camper van. This includes everything from lights and charging cables to refrigerators and cooking appliances.

Calculate Individual Power Consumption

For each item on your list, check its power rating, usually in watts. Multiply the power rating by the number of hours you expect to use it daily. This will give you the daily power consumption for each item in watt-hours.

Sum it Up

Add up the daily power consumption of all items to get your total daily power usage in watt-hours. This crucial figure will guide you in selecting the appropriate solar panel system.

Matching Power Usage to Solar Panels

Evaluate Solar Panel Output

Solar panels are rated in watts, indicating how much power they can produce in an hour of peak sunlight. The output you need should be based on your calculated power usage.

Consider Battery Storage

You'll also need to consider how much battery storage you have. Your batteries must have enough capacity to store the electricity that the solar panels produce.

Factors in Sunlight Availability

The amount of sunlight available varies by location and season. Assess the average sunlight hours in the areas you'll be travelling to and ensure your solar system is robust enough to generate sufficient power even on days with less sunlight.

Seek Professional Advice

It’s advisable to consult professionals like Going Solar to help you match your power usage to the appropriate solar panel system. They can offer valuable insights and recommendations tailored to your specific needs.

Choosing the Right Camper Van Solar Panels for Your Needs

Types of Solar Panels

There are mainly three types of solar panels suitable for camper vans:

Monocrystalline Panels

Highly efficient, but usually more expensive.

Polycrystalline Panels

Slightly less efficient and slightly cheaper.

Thin-film Panels

Flexible and lightweight, but less efficient.

Size and Wattage

The size and wattage of the camper van solar panels you choose will depend on your power consumption needs. Generally, camper van owners opt for panels ranging from 100 watts to 400 watts.

Installation and Mounting

When installing camper van solar panels, consider the mounting options. Fixed mounting is more common, but adjustable mounts allow you to change the angle for maximum sun exposure.

Cost and Budget

Solar panels can vary in cost. It’s important to assess your energy needs and choose a system that aligns with your budget without compromising quality.

Going Solar’s Services for Installing Camper Van Solar Panels

Customised Solar Solutions

At Going Solar, we pride ourselves on offering customised solar solutions for camper vans. Our expert team will assess your energy requirements and recommend the best solar panels to meet your needs.

Professional Installation

Our experienced technicians ensure a hassle-free installation process, adhering to the highest standards of safety and efficiency.

After-Sales Support and Maintenance

Going Solar is committed to providing exceptional after-sales support and maintenance services to ensure your camper van solar panels perform optimally for years to come.

Conclusion: Upgrade Your Camper Van Experience by Going Solar

Incorporating camper van solar panels into your camping experience is a game-changer. It offers you freedom, efficiency, and an eco-friendly solution for power on the next level is your go-to solution for high-quality solar panels and professional installation services.

Contact Going Solar today to find out how we can tailor the perfect solar solution for your camper van.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What size solar panel do you need for a camper van?

The size of the solar panel you need for your camper van depends on your energy consumption. A small setup for basic needs can be around 100-200 watts, while larger systems can go up to 400 watts or more for those with higher energy demands.

Is it worth having a solar panel on a campervan?

Yes, it is worth having a solar panel on a campervan. Not only does it provide you with a renewable source of energy, but it also saves money in the long term, provides greater freedom when camping, and is environmentally friendly.

Is a 100-watt solar panel enough for a camper?

A 100-watt solar panel may be sufficient for very basic energy needs such as charging phones and LED lights. However, if you intend to power appliances like a fridge, you may need a larger system.

How much power do I need for my camper van?

The amount of power you need for your camper van depends on the appliances and devices you plan to use. Calculate the daily power consumption of all devices and appliances in watt-hours to estimate the size of the solar system needed.

How many watts does a campervan fridge use?

A typical campervan fridge uses between 30 to 60 watts of power per hour. However, this can vary depending on the size and efficiency of the fridge. It’s important to check the manufacturer’s specifications for accurate information.

How do I maintain camper van solar panels?

Solar panels require minimal maintenance. Cleaning them periodically to remove dust and debris and checking for any loose connections or damage is generally sufficient.

Contact Going Solar Now!

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*FYI, parts of this blog post were drafted by artificial technlogy. But rest assured, it's been thoroughly researched, edited, reviewed and me & my team.
Author Fahad Zahid
Founder @ Going Solar

Joe Brennan, the founder of Going Solar, is dedicated to making solar power mainstream in Ireland and meet SEAI objectives. With a focus on affordability and sustainability, he is bringing renewable energy solutions to homes, reducing costs & environmental impact.