How to set up solar panels for camping?
Here is an example video that might be helpful for you.

How to choose solar panels for camping?

Choose a solar panel large enough to provide enough daily power to run your fridge, plus battery storage of an extra two-thirds on hand. A popular solar panel size to charge your batteries to run camping fridges is around 120 – 160 watts. However, we do recommend to use 160 watts to 300 watts as it would be able to generate more electricity in an hour.

How much power can I expect to get from a 300-watt solar panel?

The amount of electricity produced by a solar panel depends on the size of the panel, the amount of sunlight the panel gets, and the efficiency of the solar cells inside the panel. For example, if a 300-watt (0.3kW) solar panel in full sunshine actively generates power for one hour, it will have generated 300 watt-hours (0.3kWh) of electricity. That same 300-watt panel produces 240 volts, which equals 1.25 Amps.

Unfortunately, solar panels don't generate a steady stream of electricity all day. They generate less power when the sun is low in the sky (mornings and evenings) or when clouds are moving across the rooftop. Wattages are assigned according to each panel's peak capacity for generating energy - usually during afternoon hours of direct sunlight under perfect weather conditions. This capacity level is also referred to as watts peak (Wp).

How much solar power do i need for camping?

A 12V battery needs at least 13.6 volts to charge, therefore under worst case conditions a solar panel needs to output at least 13.6 volts. This means that in perfect conditions a 12V solar panel may output around 17V or more.

what is the best solar panels for caravans?

The three main types of solar panels are glass, mobile and folding panels. Glass panels have been around for the longest and have built a positive reputation.  this is the best for household and commercial installations. The glass panels have a rigid frame and are attached to the roof. Their placement also ensures they have air circulation to reduce their output temperature. However, if your glass panels are roof mounted, they are more susceptible to damage. Also not very convenient in terms of its mobility It is worthwhile considering how much energy you would normally use. If you usually use an air conditioner or heater and other appliances, solar power may not be enough for your set up. 

The folding solar panels are more popular with campers as they are easy to transport and store in a caravan for travel. These solar panels can be picked up and moved around the camp area where there is most sunlight. This flexibility allows you to maximize your energy absorbed from the sun.

However, It is all depending on your needs each type of solar panels has its own unique benefit

What do I need to run my Fridge? 

This depends on the size of your fridge, how long you plan to stay away from any other power sources and the size of your battery bank.  Please refer to the Typical Usage Calculator for more accurate information.

 How long will it take to recharge my battery? 

The time needed to fully recharge your battery with solar depends on many factors: 

1) the efficiency of your solar regulator and the charging method it uses.

2)how much stored energy you need to replace in your battery

3) the amount of solar energy you can provide.  we will assume the regulator is 100% efficient.

Let’s say you need to replace 200A/h of stored energy into your battery via 300W of solar panels.

300W @ 12V = 300/12 = 25A

200A/h @ 25A = 200/25 = 8 hours

So as an approx estimation, it would take around 8 hours to recharge your battery.  In a real life situation you would need to take into account the efficiency of your regulator and its ability to charge the battery to 100% (multi-stage charging).

Where do I place my panel with regards to the sun? 

Ideally your solar panel should be in direct sunlight for best performance.  In practice this is not easily achievable or convenient and so we recommend that you orient your panels so that they are facing north at about a 45° angle.

What can I run on my 160 Watt Panel?

 For example, our 160w solar panel kit can supply 10 Amps as a max power output in the sunny days. After taking any other factors into account which might affect its efficiency, we assume the panel will be outputting 9 Amps.  For most of the sunlight hours of the day. If we assume that only 1/4 of the day is sunlight hours then it is safe to assume that the panel can supply between 8 and 12 Amps for this period.

Given that there are 24 hours in a day, Let’s assume that the solar panels are charging a 200A/h battery.  You wish to run a 50L Fridge which draws on average 3A, and 2 x LED camp lights which draw 0.25A each when running.  You want to run the fridge 24 hours a day, and the camp light for 6 hours each night.

Fridge:  3A x 24h = 72Ah

Lights:  0.25A x 6h = 1.5Ah x 2 lights = 3Ah

Total:    75Ah per day.

Your panels can supply:

9A x 6h = 54Ah each day.

 Therefore the battery is being discharged by:

75Ah – 54Ah = 21Ah each day.

 So you could run your fridge and lights for:

200Ah / 21Ah = just under 10 days without any other form of charge.

What are Monocrystalline solar panels?

  • These cells in the panel have a pyramid pattern which offers a larger surface area to collect more energy from the sun’s rays.
  • The top surface is diffused with phosphorous which helps to create an orientation that is electrically negative as compared to the bottom which has a positive electrical orientation, which in turn helps to create the electric field.
  • To reduce reflection and thereby increase absorption, the cells are coated with silicon nitride.
  • These panels have longevity up to 30 years.
  • the main advantage of monocrystalline solar cells is the higher efficiency of conversion of solar energy into electric energy than its two other counterparts.