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What Solar Panels Are better For Caravan?

Which Solar Panels Are More Suitable for Caravans?

The sun’s energy isn’t just powering cities anymore – it’s now taking over caravan adventures too! After setting an annual record of more than 500,000 solar installations in 2021, adventurous owners are looking for what solar panels are better for their caravan.

For many, thin-film panels is a great option. They’re cost-effective and flexible after all. Off-grid installations can be tricky, though, so it would be best for you to consider other options, too. 

In this article, we’ll take a look at different solar panel types available for our caravan and explain the following:

Which type of solar panel is the best for caravans?

Installing solar panels on your caravan will be different from installing them on your home, yes, but both choose from the same types. Here’s what you’ll be looking at:

 

Types of Solar Panels, Monocrystalline, Polycrystalline, Passivated Emitter and Rear Cell (PERC), Thin-film

Monocrystalline

Monocrystalline solar panels last the longest and are also the most efficient. Meaning, they will take up less space to generate the same amount of power. 

This makes them the best option if your plan is roof-mounted solar panels but you have limited space.

They are, however, also the most expensive. 

Get 3 Solar Quotes From Quality Local Installers.

Polycrystalline

Polycrystalline solar panels are a step down from their monocrystalline cousins. For one, they can be installed as roof-mounted panels, too. However, while they’re still durable and efficient, a solar panel with monocrystalline cells is still superior.

That being said, a polycrystalline solar panel will also be cheaper. So, if monocrystalline is a bit out of budget, this should be a great alternative.

Thin-film (flexible, amorphous)

Thin-film, also known as amorphous solar panels, is lightweight, flexible, and cheap. All in all, this makes them the most versatile type of solar panel you can choose from

However, this versatility comes at a cost.

Compared to rigid panels (mono- and polycrystalline), a solar array using amorphous panels won’t be as durable and efficient. So, don’t expect the same amount of solar power.

For further reading: The 4 different types of solar panels for your home

Things to consider when choosing solar panels for your caravan

Factors For Choosing Caravan Solar Panels
A visual representation displaying the factors to consider when selecting solar panels for your caravan.

Size

The size of your caravan solar panel system will depend on your power needs as well as the available space you have on your van’s roof. 

If you haven’t already, I highly recommend talking about this with your installer so you can have all the power you need while you’re out on the road. 

Efficiency

Higher efficiency means more energy from fewer panels . This should be an important consideration if you have limited space and a hefty need for solar power. 

That being said, do keep in mind that a high-efficiency solar array will generally also cost more upfront. 

Aesthetics

I’m going to assume that, like us, how your caravan looks is also important to you. Thus, it’s also important to consider how your solar panels will look mounted to your caravan. Sadly, not all solar panels look pleasing.

Some solar panels are bulkier than others, and some have different patterns, but as a general rule, here’s what you should expect: 

  • Monocrystalline panels are black
  • Polycrystalline panels are blue
  • Thin-film can be both black and blue

Get 3 Solar Quotes From Quality Local Installers.

Cost

How much money you spend will always be a significant factor when it comes to solar panel systems regardless of where it’s installed, as the NREL Technical Report in 2022 supports. 

So, try to find the balance between system size, efficiency, aesthetics, and cost that works for you. Don’t skimp on quality, though. High quality solar panels will pay for themselves.

If you want to go at it alone, you absolutely can. But it’ll be easier if you had the help of our pre-vetted solar installers. Whenever you’re ready, we can get you 3 FREE quotes from them right away.

FAQs:

Are flexible solar panels suitable for caravans?

Yes, flexible solar panels are great for RV use, as they can be mounted on curved and uneven surfaces. They may not be as efficient and durable as rigid solar panels, but they are often more versatile. They’re cheaper, too. 

Are portable solar panels suitable for caravans?

yes, portable solar panels are also suitable for caravans. The downside, though, is that you won’t be able to mount them on your van. So, you won’t be able to generate solar power while you’re driving. 

What size solar panel do I need for my caravan?

The size of the solar panel system you need will depend on your power consumption. The more energy you need, the larger your system needs to be.

Conclusion

Having solar panels on your caravan is a great way to enjoy the outdoors remaining environmentally friendly. It’s also a great way to use appliances you have on your camper van, making your trips feel more like home. 

So, in a nutshell, thin-film solar panels are your most versatile and affordable option. They’re not the most efficient and durable, though. 

If you want the highest power output while taking up less space, monocrystalline is a good but expensive choice. Polycrystalline, on the other hand, is your middle-of-the-road option where you get great efficiency at a cheaper cost.