How to Choose the Best Solar Panels for your Caravan
The great outdoors are a holiday favourite, which is why so many are opting to travel via caravan or motor home. Deciding how to power your travels though can be overwhelming - here's our tips on selecting solar for the road.
Picture this: you’re exploring the countryside, having just left the coast and now headed eagerly inland. The road is peaceful and you pull up to a serene, grassy campsite that is accompanied by the sound of a bubbling fresh-water creek… to then be totally insulted by the sound of your ugly generator kicking into gear.
We’ve all been there, but as technology continues to advance its way into our lifestyles, it would be a shame to not jump on the bandwagon that is ditching generators and embracing clean energy sources. Which is why you’re probably here - solar panels are the best power-sourcing alternative for those on the road, and here are our tips on how to select the right type of panel for you and your caravan.
There are three types solar panel cell type suitable for vehicles:
- Thin film
We’ve summarised the pros and cons of each cell type in a handy guide below to help you determine exactly which panel cell type is most suitable for you and your caravan.
As you can probably tell, monocrystalline cell types are what we would recommend to any caravan-goer due to their efficiency and performance, particularly for those with limited real estate on their roof. This cell type will create the largest pay-off per square metre, and while it is the most costly option, it is more likely to see a return on investment.
Now that you know what solar cell type you are chasing, you need to determine what kind of solar panel set up you should purchase. There are a few different options currently available on the market:
- Fixed frame panels
- Mobile panels
- Folding panels
All can be great options depending on what you are looking for. Fixed frame panels are mounted to the roof of your vehicle and once installed, cannot be adjusted without professional help. However, they are the most efficient once installed and require little to no thought on a day-to-day basis, making them perfect for those who wish to just arrive and relax. In saying that, you will need to take care of where you park with fixed panels - parking in the sun will obviously yield more efficient energy production versus parking in the shade.
Fixed panels are also a popular choice for those wishing to power multiple appliances (for example, fridges, television, charging devices, and lights), as they yield the most energy production per square metre. If you want to charge your caravan round-the-clock, it would also be incredibly worthwhile to integrate a battery into your setup, which functions nicely with a fixed frame installation. You can check out our range of caravan suitable batteries here.
Mobile panels are the in-between between fixed glass panels and foldaway panels. They are portable and light, but sometimes bulky. People often opt for mobile panels when seeking a versatile energy solution, as the panels’ efficiency is not reliant on where you park your caravan. With mobile panels, you can simply park wherever you desire, and set up your panels over in a consistently sunny area. Consider that this does mean you are needing to actively install and pack away the panels whenever you move, but many road trippers do prefer this functional option. Be sure to keep your eye on them still, as they can be a target for theft!
Folding panels offer ultimate flexibility due to their lightweight nature and ease of storage. However, they are the most breakable and prone to damage. Exactly as their name suggests, they are a panel that can fold in half for an easy storage solution. Similar to mobile panels, it is also necessary to actively think about where to place your panels while on your holiday, and to also set them up as quickly as possible upon arrival in order to ensure you are maximising your energy intake. Also similar to mobile panels, they do not require fixed installation to the roof. Those who prefer not to drill holes in their caravan or those who are travelling short term, often opt for a more portable panel solution.
Choosing the right solar panel for you and your caravan ultimately depends on what you value more when it comes to energy efficiency and production. High yield or shade tolerant? Fixed or portable? Minimal maintenance or versatility?
Have a think of what is most important to you and you should be able to find a solar panel solution that ticks your boxes. Refer to this guide as much as you need when selecting your setup, and you can also contact us here if you have any questions or would like a second opinion.
Who Are We?
Springers Solar is an established, family-owned solar specialist company based in Lawnton and Capalaba in Queensland, Australia. We offer over 20 years of industry knowledge and experience, offering services and products ranging from installations and batteries, inverters and chargers, solar panels, lighting, and more. We cater to private and commercial clients offering auto and electrical solutions. Springers Solar offers a wide range of products complete with design and installation by our 60+ team of dedicated in-house project managers, engineers, and installers. We have installed solar for over 5,000 happy customers and have become a top choice for solar installations on a national scale.
Contact Us for a Free Quote
You can call us today, or fill out the form below for one of our experienced staff members to call you and discuss the quote. If you prefer an emailed response please make a note of that in the message. Make sure you also let us know what suburb you are from too