The youtube guy is partially correct for exactly the reason you suspected. This kit includes physically flexible solar panels that can be mounted on the curved roof of any RV. If you’re driving a large camper van or RV, chances are you solar panels will be permanently fixed to the roof of the vehicle. They will only require one hole in the roof to run the wires through to the charge controller. Because they’re designed for outdoor use, they’ll stand up to hail, snow and rain. These panels are the best in cloudy weather and not as severely affected by partial shade as the other types. You might also want to look into the Cole Hersee battery isolator because they have options that work with the new smart alternators. The roof tape can be cut to size with a regular pair of scissors. They often come with their own charge controller and you can hook them into an existing solar set up. Thank you for the very informative article! However, if you have multiple panels, these Renogy Flexible Panels could work for full time, heavy usage. They range in sizes from huge residential panels to small 50W device chargers. With all of that said, most small panels have pretty similar features and hardware. Renogy is one of the most well-known manufacturers of solar panels for small applications. MPPT charge controllers are more efficient than PWM. Thanks a lot for your excellent article. 450W solar panel wiring diagram. If panels are only getting enough sun to output 13V, then two panels in parallel won’t be outputting enough voltage to properly charge the batteries at 13.8V. Solar panels work best when the whole panel is getting consistent light. I usually see this product being incorporated in a good Renogy flexible solar panel review considering its effectiveness and high satisfaction rating.This is an excellent choice, especially if you aim to choose the right RV solar panels. I noticed you mentioned using one or the other. I have chosen solar panels for my RV. If you’re building a DIY solar panel system from scratch, sometimes the easiest thing to do is purchase a solar kit. Alternatively, if your camper already runs off of a permanent solar set up, then you may find it struggles during long periods of grey and cloudy days. Once installed they provide, clean, quiet energy you can use anytime the sun is out. As the SOUL Solar Scroll is small, the price is still reasonably low, at $129, find out more on their Kickstarter page. Seal any remaining gaps or holes in your rooftop with this to prevent future leaks. This roof seal is made for RVs and sticks to metal, roof flashing and EPDM. These are generally made from plastic. Optimizing Your Camper Van Electric System, How To Calculate Wh For Each Electronic Device, over two years living in a DIY camper van, Includes waterproof junction box and MC4 connectors, 20ft. Man, I would really love some of these solar panels for our DIY conversion van. Cleaning your panels is important. If you’re trying to build a stealth camper van, any panels mounted to your roof are going to be a giveaway that someone is living in the van. Your article fully the pros and cons of each product category. If you’ve got a small system and PWM controller, then wiring in parallel is better – just make sure you fuse everything properly. Like most things, RV solar power has pros and cons, and you will want to carefully consider all the factors before you decide to buy some panels for your roof. We are using eternabond cut to 2.5” width and the 3M VHB tape in your link on a Renogy flexible 160 W panel. I think Renogy is the best one. Higher voltage rather than amperage means the system is a more efficient. Installing a solar panel kit on your camper van or RV should follow the same steps as installing rigid solar panels listed above. The solar panel measures 147.6 x 66 x 0.2 cm and is just 1.27 Kg, a fraction of the weight of the Photonic Universe Solar Panel. Solar energy/panels are appreciated more by many people nowadays because of its benefits and usage variety. You can read more about this in our post on charge controllers. A pair of connectors are crimped on the end of the cable for secure connection to other solar panels, extension leads or your existing system, making hooking your solar panel up super easy. I bought Renogy 100 Watts 12 Volts Monocrystalline Solar Panel for my RV and feel pretty satisfied with it. ... For any substantial mounting on a camper … ABOUT US At number one on our list of the best solar panels for your camper van, we have this 300W beauty from Photonic Universe. Or would that depend on whether they’re wired in series or parallel? Because of their durable frame, they are easier to position towards the sun. Just a heads up, I think the last line of the first bullet point under “Wiring in Parallel” should be parallel not series, as you covered wiring in series prior. For us, they are a must when living the van life full time. If you have the budget and space, tilt mounts can increase your solar power capacity by as much as 25%, as long as you adjust them properly. As an Amazon associate we earn from qualifying purchases. As well as being extremely flexible, these Renogy 160W solar panels are very lightweight, up to 70% lighter than conventional solar panels. Solar generators are the perfect solution for someone who doesn’t want to get deep into wiring and system sizing. Most rigid solar panels come with a bit of clearance built within the frame. By creating a self-sufficient off grid home, you are reducing your van life costs, saving more money for the fun stuff. Thanks a lot and I will read more about your posts. If you want to run 240v electrics in your campervan, then you will also need an inverter. Low profile Fixed solar panels are permanently mounted as on top of the RV. >> I saw a video where a solar guy said if you’re running 2 or 3 x 100 watt panels for example, and add one more smaller, say only a 50 watt panel, then ALL of the panels would only be able to output the lower amount (in this example they all become 50 W each). If you have solar panels, hiding them helps in only a small percentage of situations. Thank you so much to share with us so many interesting infos about solar cells on a camping car roof. Each solar panel is made up of many photovoltaic cells. Hopefully we could find some great panels and a dependable installation company. Today we are going to discover the five best solar panels for your camper van to make living off the grid so much easier. Be sure to check weekly that your panels are free of dirt and debris. I think flexible solar panels are much lighter than conventional solar panels, which makes them suitable for different applications. Investing in any of the solar panels listed above will help you to save money benefitting from the power of the sun. The panel is completely waterproof and is safe to be used in all weather conditions, good news for full-time vanlifers. These are run through the factory-installed combiner, and are integrated through a 40 amp solar charge controller from Zamp. Or is that something you all would do after in order to have the anchors of the solar panel mounts accessible through the ceiling?   Easy to aim at the sun. This is good news, as it keeps the initial cost of setting up your solar electrical system to a minimum as you do not need to buy multiple numbers of panels. Thanks for these instructions! It also makes them lightweight. The wiring must be bigger as you are increasing amps. By the way thanks for the informative post. solar cells, a new technology initially utilised by the military. However this has been improving on a yearly basis in the industry. Their kits come with simple wiring diagrams that lay out all of the components and they have excellent customer support to help you connect your system.   More durable To see more from the Van Clan team and to immerse yourself in all things vanlife, follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, Full Time Vanlifer | Writer, Blogger, Reviewer | Favourite Place: Sardinia | Sushi Lover | Next Location: USA, STX Eila Edition One: The Toy Hauling Mercedes Motorhome of Your Dreams, DIY Van Conversion Done on a Budget for Full-Time Living, 15 Best Pop Up Campers For Weekend Adventures. Can position to get the best lighting, opening up options for where you park your van as well. Mark- we certainly worded that in a weird way. This is what the solar gathering cells of the panel are actually made of. I would have loved to have a solar panel installed back then. Thanks for the write up. Not all solar suitcases come with charge controllers but most do. Huge thanks for this article that pretty much summed everything I needed to know about the subject so far. This is fantastic. I liked your article. Thank you! My husband and I have been considering installing solar panels to help us be more efficient with our energy consumption. Because of these issues, the warranty on flexible solar panels tends to be significantly shorter than rigid panels. Depending on your setup, you can purchase cable extenders which are relatively inexpensive. They can be attached with glue, sealant or screws. Waterproof junction box. The glass is resistant to scratches which is best for long term light efficiency. Your email address will not be published. Eternabond roof tape is waterproof and weatherproof down to -20°F. To get a proper seal, place a strip of Eternabond tape beneath the bracket and fill the mounting holes with a dollop of lap sealant before tightening the hardware down. You can make adjustments to your expectations or usage until it fits within your goals. That means you can travel in all weather conditions without fear of system failure. Portable solar suitcases can be installed and connected just like regular rigid solar panels. Hi Kate & Ian, is this correct??? Each of the little squares on your panels are wired in a way that if one of them is shaded, the whole row can’t produce energy. Renogy panels are designed specifically for RVs and boats. Weight: 19.84 Pounds. When solar is great is if you’re stationary for a few days! Giosolar 200 watt kit + 20 amp charge controller + cables . Let me know what you think… Thanks. Great post! Renogy 100 Watts 12 Volts Monocrystalline. Due to how light it is, this Renogy solar panel would be suitable if you have a pop-top camper. Solar panels for your RV or camper van, you can use anytime the sun is out. Solar Panel Placement. thanks. Best Flexible Panel Solar RV Kit. When planning your solar, be aware that solar panels perform best when cool. (-) wires also go into a separate combiner. They take up less space, but are usually a little more expensive. You won’t … That should be a sufficient amount of space to keep your solar panels from getting too hot. When choosing which solar suitcase to buy, you should consider the following: The number one thing you should consider is the solar output. Solar suitcases are an easy way to charge electronics when you’re camping. My partner and I used to travel in a camper van in the US for three months and then in New Zealand for a month. This kit is an excellent way to buy your solar system if it is your first time installing one as you have all the bits you need, and step by step instructions on how to install it, cutting down the amount of time it will take you to get your system up and running. Thank you so much! Do you think it is feasible to charge a 150ah AGM battery on just solar alone? We hope this site can help you plan your next road trip.   Cheaper per Watt The Renogy 160W flexible solar panel comes in at £237.77 and can be found on Amazon. You have explained everything in detail. They are built to withstand hail, sand and wind. Aside from this, a protective case, stand and weatherproofing will likely come down to personal preference and price point. Most truck camper owners and dealers attach accessories to roof racks, including solar panels. It’s a place to pick up vanlife tips, share ideas, and meet other van life enthusiasts from around the globe! They are one of the most popular companies for van lifers and offer different sizes and upgrade options. Solar panels are such a great way to travel without worrying about finding the next campsite to recharge your batteries, giving you even more freedom. However, is this possible to cover my entire house with solar panels? Solar Panels: We currently have 300 watts of solar panels on the roof. Basic rigid panels are cheaper per watt and generally come with a long warranty (10+ years). Charging with alternator will give you more power than most solar setups. One of the things to pay attention to is whether you’re buying a starter bundle, or a full RV kit. They are plug-n-play boxes that are safe and require little to no DIY solar power knowledge. Another big thing to know about panels is that most solar tech is very sensitive to shade. Head over to our brand new Facebook Group! In neighborhoods that are wary of the homeless, just having a vehicle above a certain height will get the cops called on you. At number one on our list of the best solar panels for your camper van, we have this 300W beauty from Photonic Universe. Because they don’t have a frame, they are low profile and can bend to shallow curves such as a van roof. When you driving camper van or RV, chances are you solar panels will be permanently fixed to the roof. It costs £249.99. Because of this, you can reduce your energy produced by up to 90% if a certain 10% of the panel is covered. I have purchased the solar panels for my RV. While solar generators do cost more than building a system on your own, they are nearly impossible to mess up and are fully portable for camping and travel. These panels are also quite durable, even when flexible, so you can often see them sewn into backpacks and cloth items. To install flexible panels, we recommend using a high strength adhesive like Eternabond tape. Flexible panels are flat cells that are molded with a layer of protective plastic on top. They share the same longevity and durability attributes as monocrystalline panels. We are Kate, Ian and Harper. If what you are in search of is a highly reliable solar 12-volt battery charger, then this 100-watt mono-crystalline solar starter kit from Renogy should be one of your choices. Solar cable glands bridge the gap between the roof and the interior of your van. A solar panel works by capturing the energy coming from the sun and turning it into electricity that can then be used for your campervan. Copyright © ParkedInParadise.com | Disclosure: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. and device charging. All of the components that come with these panels – from the junction box to the MC4 connectors – are waterproof. We’re hoping to add even more info in the future , Just a question. Is he correct and why? The Renogy Flexible solar panel is also straightforward to install as it simply needs to be glued to the surface it will be sitting on. Flexible solar panels cannot really be individually tilted unless you mount them to a frame- effectively making them a rigid panel. One of the best things about their panels is the long warranty. Thanks for writing this detailed guide. I will follow more about your posts. Your email address will not be published. Will be saving this as a reference. Monocrystalline panels are slightly more efficient so they will take up less space on your roof. Required fields are marked *. This solar panel is an excellent option for full-time vanlifers who want a permanent and constant supply of electricity to their van’s leisure batteries. Most panels reduce “stealth” to varying degrees, Reduces your roof layout options (goodbye sunroof! Our top choices are Renogy, HQST and ACOPOWER. I never use solar panel for my Rv before. The Sun Store Solar kit costs £362.53, and more information can be found on their website. Eternabond tape is sticky on one side, so you can run it along all four edges of the flexible solar panel to anchor it down. Along the way, we've met with other van lifers, checked out their rigs, and learned a lot about adventure travel. So which way is better? Generators like the Inergy Apex or Goal Zero Yeti are essentially a solar system in a box. Renogy 50 Watt Flexible Camping Solar Panel. Thank you for sharing an informative blog which is interesting to read. Portable solar panels are already tilt-mount by design! Lap Sealant should be used to weatherproof your install. knowledge. Flexible panels are trash, they get extremely hot, lose efficiency and have very short lives. Keep doing it. The starter bundles normally do not come with mounting brackets or connectors. Set up your solar panel and charge your powerpack while it is sunny to have a charging solution for days when you need an extra boost, giving you extra power to charge phones, laptops and cameras. Snow and dust can greatly reduce the amount of power that you gather. It is a good idea to design a gap between the panel and the roof for air movement. This is useful if the roof of your van is slightly curved, as your solar panel can bend with it. As always amazing read, lots of useful information about solar panel and a lot of work put in from your side. Fortunately, the process is relatively simple and won’t do a lot of damage to your rooftop. Bundling these items together can ensure that all of the components work together seamlessly. They are also easy to clean in cold weather because they can withstand an ice scraper. This is much better to know in the planning stage than when you’re on the road! There are a few key differences to keep in mind when choosing solar panels: Rigid panels are solar cells mounted under tempered glass. This solar panel provides mounting holes for installation but will need to be paired with a mounting kit to fix securely on your van’s roof. The PPT Powerpack and Solar Panel combination is a great back up for cloudy days, allowing you to save your van’s leisure batteries for essentials such as lights and the fridge. Wiring in series is where you plug the (+) of one panel into the (-) of another in a long string like Christmas lights. Solar panels are relatively simple devices, so the variation in quality is minimal. The Solar Panel itself is made using copper indium gallium selenide (C.I.G.S.) They offer a 5 year warranty on material damage and a 25 year warranty on solar output. Mounting or gluing panels directly to the roof loses important cooling airflow from the underside. 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