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 large and small 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 framed 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.

If you have any questions call us on 01223 858414 or drop us a line.


solar panels
12V solar panels
Framed polycrystalline silicon solar panels. Great for a wide variety of uses.
Large solar panels
Larger framed silicon solar panels - for more power hungry installations.
Flexible solar panels
Ideal on boats, or expeditions!
Solar panel kits
A range of framed, laminate and semi-flexible solar panel kits complete with solar regulator, cables and connectors.
Basic 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.
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.
Leisure batteries
Great value maintenance-free leisure batteries - ideal for boats and caravans
Gel batteries
High-spec zero-maintenance gel batteries. Long life, and ideal for fit-and-forget applications such as remote monitoring.
AGM batteries
High quality range of batteries from Dutch brand Victron
Deep cycle batteries
A wide range of top quality deep cycle batteries
Chargers and accessories
Battery terminals, chargers, split charging devices and more.
DC DC Converters
DC to DC converters.
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
Keep an eye on this page for the latest bargains.
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 customers
We offer great discounts for trade customers placing multiple orders. Please contact us for more information