Solar System Camper Vehicle: What You Need To Know

More and more people interested in motorhomes are asking about solar systems during service advice.

That is why we have created a small overview of photovoltaic or solar systems for a mobile home for you to understand.

Electricity accompanies us throughout our everyday life. Whether at home or work, many people even find so-called garden electricity in their gardens.

The question is, what does it look like when we are travelling with the motorhome?

Going on vacation with a camper van and exploring the area for weeks, completely independent of shore power, is a dream for many consumers.

With a photovoltaic system, better known as a solar system, you will find an attractive system for the mobile home.

Especially in wild and lonely nature without electricity yield, solar modules offer your vehicle a great advantage when travelling.

How does a solar system work for the camper vehicle?

In a mobile home, the solar system usually consists of one or more portable solar panels for camping, a charge controller, a power inverter, and a battery.

The solar cells on the roof convert the sun’s rays into electrical energy. The charge controllers’ function ensures that the battery can be optimally charged.

With solar systems for mobile homes, you can often find whole sets of products, making installing or assembling the components much easier.

However, assembling the solar module set from individual components is also available.

Here it is important to ensure that the effectiveness of the charge controllers is maintained because the performance of the solar cells cannot be processed further.

This would be a clear disadvantage and could damage the photovoltaic system.

What different types of solar panels are there?

When retrofitting a solar-powered generator on a mobile home, you can choose between many categories.

You can choose between the manufacturer and which module you like best, especially which of the modules fits best.

However, the selection of the photovoltaic system is usually limited to monocrystalline solar modules with a high degree of efficiency and polycrystalline solar modules.

The second ones are less powerful but cheaper to buy.

The last conventional variant that is often found is the so-called CIS solar cells, which have the advantage that they can supply electricity even in the shade or overcast.

How do I calculate my power requirements in the motorhome?

So that you know which solar system you need or how many watts it has to produce, at least for your mobile home, you should calculate in advance what you roughly need.

To analyze your power needs, you first need to determine which devices draw power. It would help if you also determined how long you use these devices each day.

For comparison, we have the following calculation tips to help you with the calculation:

If you have 6 LED lamps that have a power consumption of about 3 watts per lamp and they light up for 4 hours a day, calculate as follows:

6 Led lamps x 3 watts x 4 hours = 72 watt-hours

If you do this calculation for all devices that require electricity during use, you can calculate the individual values that add up to your daily electricity consumption.

This gives you the starting point for your solar module purchase.

How many watts do I need from my solar system now?

Now that you have calculated the required power requirement without any problems, the next question is how many watts your photovoltaic system has to produce.

When calculating, it is important to consider the time of year when your mobile home is on the road.

For example, you can expect at least five hours of effective sunshine in the summer and just one in the winter.

For example, if you have a daily energy consumption of 500 watt-hours, divide this by the actual hours of sunshine.

It looks like this, for example:

Solar module performance in summer = 500 watt hours / 5 hours = 100 watts

Solar module output in winter = 500 watt hours / 1 hour = 500 watts

If you want to travel in these conditions, with the mobile home, mainly in the summer months, you need a solar module with 100 watts. In winter, you need at least 5 of these modules.

No matter which category you want to purchase, it is essential that you check the information on the order carefully. Manufacturers often do not specify watts but Wp.

The Watt peak (Wp) describes the maximum performance the photovoltaic or solar system on your mobile home can achieve under optimal conditions.

This means that the actual value of the performance of the photovoltaic system and solar system is usually below the Wp, i.e, the specified Watt peak (Wp).

Therefore, we recommend going up 25% when installing the size of the photovoltaic and solar systems. It would help if you didn’t go wrong with this.

Another tip is to use tested manufacturers from Germany. The requirements that the manufacturer must comply with when shipping and selling often give the customer a higher quality of modules than, for example, from third-party providers.

The quality of the modules, charge controllers, and cells are ultimately decisive for calculating the required wattage of the vehicles.

The battery

The battery connected to the mobile home’s solar system/photovoltaic system has a limited capacity measured in ampere-hours (Ah).

Converting watts to amp-hours is as easy as dividing the variable by the voltage.

Calculation example with a standard 12-volt battery:

300-watt hours / 12 volts = 25-ampere hours

The following information can thus be derived from it.

12 volt battery = approx. 300 watt-hours

300 watt hours = approx. 25-ampere hours

It should be noted here. However, the daily requirement only shows the minimum capacity.

It is, therefore, important to plan a buffer to use the solar energy from the socket in your motorhome, even if the weather is bad for a few days.

We recommend choosing a battery with five to six times the ampere-hour capacity.

The purchase price of a solar system for camper vehicles

Different influences affect the purchase price of a photovoltaic system for mobile homes. No matter which shop or online site you choose, it mostly depends on the same criteria.

The price of a solar system for mobile homes depends on the system’s performance, the cells, and the modules.

According to our information, a solar system for mobile homes can cost between 300 and 1500 euros. We recommend choosing a set in the shop menu on the manufacturer’s website and not purchasing all component categories individually.

Summary of the solar system for camper vehicles

A solar system offers you a lot for your next vacation trip. First, the focus is on independence, which allows you to travel completely self-sufficient.

On the other hand, it is an excellent feature that is sustainable and environmentally friendly compared to other energy sources.

We also have a few tips for you when it comes to assembly:

Think about where you want to attach the solar systems beforehand. Choose the appropriate position on the roof and also consider the height.

When attaching, use adhesive tape to record the exact position of the off-the-grid solar system on the roof and to be able to limit the adhesive points of the system.

If your consumable battery has a corresponding input, place the charge controller nearby for the wiring.

Awesome one; I hope this article answers your question.

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Paschal Uchechukwu
Paschal Uchechukwu

Paschal Uchechukwu Christain is a professional and passionate SEO writer on Education, including homeschool, college tips, high school, and travel tips.

He has been writing articles for over 5 years. He is the Chief Content Officer at School & Travel.

Paschal Uchechukwu Christain holds a degree in Computer Science from a reputable institution. Also, he is passionate about helping people get access to online money-making opportunities.

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