A Brief Guide to Selecting a Caravan Solar Panel System
Caravan solar systems have become increasingly popular in recent years. It has been suggested that this is either a result of a more environmentally-oriented society or the result of a consumer demand geared towards increased freedom and “off-the-grid” living. Regardless of the reasoning behind it, it would appear that caravan solar panel systems will be here to stay, with 2020 trends leaning towards smaller, more light-weight designs.
Why Use Solar Power?
In addition to being environmentally-friendly and providing the freedom to live “off-the-grid”, caravan solar panels are generally used for one of two reasons:
As a backup to the main battery
As a primary generator
Using Solar Power as a Backup
Many campers choose to use solar panels as a type of “emergency backup” for their primary battery. Like traditional automobiles, caravan batteries can lose power if left unused for significant periods of time, such as in between travels, in storage and periods of non-use due to selected times of the year.
To reduce the chances of their batteries dying unexpectedly, many campers opt to use a small solar panel known as a “trickle charger” to continuously charge their battery while it is not in use. This will ensure the longevity of your battery and also saving your hip pocket.
Using Solar Power as a Primary Generator
Using solar power as the primary means to power one’s caravan is a bit more complex. Essentially, you will want to ensure that you have enough solar energy to power all of your everyday needs such as, hot water systems, 12-volt lighting, pumps and anything else that may be ignited by 12-volt power.
The amount of power you will require will differ depending on your camping habits and lifestyle. For example, campers who are stringent about their power consumption will require much less solar power than those who are habituated to running multiple appliances and electronic devices. When shopping for a new solar panel system make sure you don't opt for the cheapest and first available as they can cause you dramas later on down the track, it's the old golden rule you get what you pay for.
Choosing the Right Solar Panel System for Your Caravan
Depending on your power needs, there are a variety of high-quality solar panels geared towards caravan camping expeditions. There are four different solar panels: fixed, folding, flexible or blankets. For more information on each type of panel and which one is suitable for your needs, see our related guide here.
Here are some examples of options for different vehicle types:
4x4 Solar Systems:
Portable 4x4 option: Redarc's 4x4 Offroad Solar Charging Camping Kit
Fixed 4x4 option: Enerdrive 2 x 160W Solar Panel with Installation Kit
Caravan Solar Systems:
Fixed caravan option: Enerdrive ePOWER 720W Solar and 40A DC to DC Charger Pack
Fixed caravan option with battery: Enerdrive 200Ah Off-Grid 40A AC & DC Charging Bundle, with 720W Solar Panels
Camping Solar Systems:
Portable camping option: Baintech Off-Grid Pack with 12V 150Ah Lithium Battery & 180W Solar Blanket
Portable camping option: Dometic PLB40 40Ah Lithium Battery & 180W Folding Solar Panel Kit
If you require support or have any questions please feel free to contact one of our friendly staff at Caravan RV Camping on 1800 787 278 or www.caravanrvcamping.com