Fitting solar panels to a Caravan or Motorhome

Finding a mains charging point to charge your batteries every other day, seriously restricts your freedom. Imagine all the beautiful, wild places you could stay if, instead of relying on the national grid for your power, you obtained some, or all, of your energy from the natural power of the sun and/or wind?

To make a significant contribution to the energy needs of a caravan or motorhome, you probably need a panel of at least 50 watts power output. In summer, a panel of that size should provide enough electricity for lighting, water pump and a radio. If travelling earlier or later in the year when there is less light available, a bigger panel may be necessary. If you are running a fridge or a television, you should consider installing several panels as these appliances can be very power hungry.

Framed panels such as the UniSolar and BP Solar ranges are the most cost-effective panels for a given output. They can either be left unfixed and plugged in when necessary, or mounted permanently on the roof.

An alternative, sophisticated solution is to fit a flexible adhesive backed solar panel to the roof. These look great, have an extremely low profile, and are very easy to fit.

If you have to leave your caravan or motorhome for long periods, you might want to fit a small solar panel to keep the battery topped up, as batteries do tend to self-discharge over time. As a result, discharged batteries soon become sulphated and lose their capacity. The Spectra range of panels are ideal for this job, and come in 5, 10 and 20 Watt sizes. They are semi-flexible and will gently bend to fit to a caravan roof. They can be mounted either using the 4 grommet holes in the panel corners, or by gluing down the panels.

The small Spectra panels do not need a solar controller if the capacity of the battery bank (in Ah), is more than 10x the power rating of the panel (in Watts). For example, a 110Ah battery with a 10 Watt panel would be fine, but for an 80Ah battery with the same panel we would recommend fitting a solar controller such as the Morningstar SunGuard model. For larger panels, such as the UniSolar models or most of the BP panels, we would always recommend the use of an appropriately rated solar controller.

An alternative to solar panels is to use a wind turbine, for example, one of the Rutland models. However, these would need to be taken down whenever you move so are not the 'fit-and-forget' solution that solar panels offer. For static caravans, or if you are likely to stay in one place for a while, they may prove to be a cost effective solution.

buy

solar panels
Framed panels
Framed polycrystalline silicon solar panels. Great for a wide variety of uses.
Framed panels - large
Larger framed silicon solar panels - for more power hungry installations.
Semi-flexible panels
3 ranges of low-profile, marine-grade panels designed with the yachtsman in mind. Great range of sizes from 5W to 70W.
Flexible panels
Ideal on boats, or expeditions!
Peel 'n' stick panels
Flexible thin-film solar panels with an adhesive backing.
Solar panel kits
A range of framed, laminate and semi-flexible solar panel kits complete with solar regulator, cables and connectors.
Grid-connect PV

On the grid

With payments from the feed-in tariff, installing solar panels on a roof makes sense financially as well as economically. Our local installation team would be delighted to quote for an installation. Please see our dedicated website for solar panels in Cambridge: midsummersolar.co.uk

We work with other solar panel installers outside of Cambridge too. If you would like competitive quotes for a solar PV installation outside of East Anglia, please visit solar-pv-quote.co.uk

regulators
Solar Regulators
The world leaders in PWM solar regulators.
MPPT Solar Regulators
Get more power from your panels.
wind turbines
Leading Edge
Bombproof and British.
Rutland Turbines
Small, economical wind turbines, ideal for battery charging on yachts.
Forgen Turbines
Reliable vertical axis turbines - great for remote power solutions.
lights
Fluorescent lights
Efficient fluorescent lighting from Labcraft for boats and caravans.
LED lights
Stylish efficient lighting with new LED technology.
inverters
Modified sine inverters
A range of 12V-240V inverters providing great value for money.
Sine wave inverters
Sophisticated sine wave inverters for improved versatility and reliability.
Inverter chargers
Combined chargers and sine-wave inverters.
batteries
Powermax
Great value maintenance-free leisure batteries - ideal for boats and caravans
Haze Gel batteries
High-spec zero- maintenance gel batteries at great prices
Rolls Solar
A full range of these robust top-end solar batteries is now available
Crown Renewable
Diverse range of high quality solar batteries
Mastervolt chargers
Very high-spec chargers suitable for marine use
Chargers and accessories
Battery terminals, chargers, split charging devices and more.
odds & ends
Meters & Monitors
Keep an eye on your battery bank's state of charge with these meters and battery monitors.
Cable & Connectors
All the connectors you need, and high-grade cable to finish off your system
Solar Panel Mounts
Versatile mounting solutions to secure solar panels to poles and roofs
Clearance!
Keep an eye on this page for the latest bargains.
systems
Off-grid power
Complete power systems for properties with no grid connection
Bespoke Solutions
We design and build remote power systems to fit your needs and budget
trade
Trade customers
We offer great discounts for trade customers placing multiple orders. Please contact us for more information