How To Select And Install Caravan Solar Panels

Thinking about installing solar panels on your caravan or motorhome, RV Online has some tips that may assist you.

Solar panels are a clean, renewable source of energy that is becoming more popular as a means of generating electricity, particularly for those who want to get out and adventure off the beaten track for extended periods or those that want live off-grid, or where access to the power grid is limited.

Installing a solar panel in a caravan is extremely convenient. It can provide a dependable and long-lasting energy source, making it ideal for camping trips, road trips, and other adventures.

By harnessing the sun's power, it can be a back up to your batteries while also powering your lights, appliances, and tech devices while traveling.

ATEM POWER Dual Battery System Smart Hub

Furthermore, solar panels are simple to install and maintain, making them an excellent choice for those seeking convenience on their journey.

A solar panel's lifespan can vary depending on several factors, including its quality, the environment in which it is used, and the amount of maintenance it receives. The majority of solar panels are built to last at least 25 years. However, they can last longer.

Types Of Solar Panel

Thin Film PV Panel

A thin film photovoltaic (PV) panel is a type of PV panel that produces electricity from sunlight without the use of bulky solar cells. They are typically less expensive and more efficient than traditional crystalline silicon photovoltaic (c-Si) panels, allowing for higher efficiency at a lower cost.

Thin film PV panels are also less expensive and easier to maintain, which makes them an ideal choice for those looking to save money or space.

ATEM POWER 200W Folding Solar Panel Blanket 12V With Controller


Crystalline panels

Crystalline solar panels are a type of photovoltaic panel made from crystalline silicon cells. These cells are created by melting pure silicon and then letting it cool and solidify into a crystal structure.

The most common type of solar panel is crystalline, used in various applications, including residential and commercial solar energy systems.

Things To Consider In Choosing The Right Solar Panel


This is measured in watts and will determine how quickly electricity is generated.


Consider the energy output of the panel. This is measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh) and will determine your overall power needs.

Battery Capacity

You should consider battery capacity. The size of your battery will determine how much energy can be stored for later use.

To make a knowledgeable decision, it's important to consider these three factors when selecting a solar panel for your caravan.

Caravan And Motorhome Solar Panel Tips

  • Consider the size of your solar panel system: When selecting a solar panel system for your caravan or motorhome, consider the size of the system you need. Consider aspects such as the size of your vehicle, the number of appliances you will be running, and the length of your trips.
  • Install your solar panels properly: Proper installation is the way to obtain the most out of your solar panel system. Follow the manufacturer's instructions and use the appropriate mounting hardware to ensure that your panels are secure and positioned to maximize efficiency.
  • Keep your solar panels clean: Dirt, dust, and grime can build up on them over time, reducing their efficiency. Be sure to keep your discussions clean and free of debris to ensure they operate at their maximum capacity.
  • Use a charge controller: A charge controller is a device that regulates the flow of electricity from your solar panels to your batteries. It helps to prevent overcharging and can extend the life of your batteries.
  • Use a battery monitor: A battery monitor is an appliance that allows you to keep track of the charge level of your batteries. It can be especially helpful when using your solar panel system to power appliances in your caravan or motorhome such as washing machines.
  • Use a quality inverter: An inverter is a device that converts the direct current (DC) electricity produced by your solar panels into alternating current (AC) electricity, which is used to power your appliances. Use a high-quality inverter to ensure your devices get a reliable and stable power supply.

How To Calculate Solar Panel Requirements For Caravan Or Motorhome

Amount Of Energy The Battery Can Store

The capacity of your battery will determine how much electricity it can store. This will be expressed in amp-hours (Ah).

Determine how much electricity you need to power your appliances and devices daily. This will be expressed in watt-hours (Wh).

Calculate the amount of electricity that a solar panel can generate over the same period of time (e.g., a day) as your energy consumption. This will also be expressed in watt-hours (Wh).

Divide your daily energy consumption (in watt-hours) by the amount of electricity a solar panel can generate over the same period to determine the size of the solar panel you require (also in watt-hours). This will show you how many solar panels you'll need to meet your energy needs.

For example, if your battery has a capacity of 100 Ah and you use 50 Wh per day on average, and a solar panel can generate 20 Wh per day, you will require 2.5 solar panels (50 / 20 = 2.5).

Remember that this is only a rough estimate. You may need to adjust your calculations based on your specific energy requirements and the conditions in which you will be using your caravan or motorhome.

Solar Panels In Australia

Atem Power 200W Solar Panel

This eco-friendly solution is built to last and is ideal for people who regularly spend time in their RV. A-grade Monocrystalline, with an energy conversion rate of 23.5%, is created to provide a quick and dependable power source when your electronic devices run low.

Furthermore, this fixed module is outfitted with premium PET films, which have a higher light penetration rate and ensure a reliable power supply in low-light conditions.

Tempered glass can withstand impact, shock, vibration, and even hail. With ATEM POWER, you're fully prepared to rediscover the joys of off-road driving.


  • A-Grade Monocrystalline Solar Cell: A-Grade monocrystalline solar cells have a cell efficiency of 23.5%.
  • Heavy-Duty Design: An anodized aluminum alloy frame with corner protectors ensures ultimate dependability in harsh environments.
  • Ultimate Protection: Overcharging cut-off technology, overload protection, and short circuit protection ensure its ultra-reliable performance.
  • Ultra PET Films: These films have a light penetration rate of 95%, which can significantly increase solar energy conversion efficiency.
  • Ultimate Durability: Because it is made of tempered glass, this panel is impact, shatter, and water resistant, making it the most durable solar panel on the market.
  • Extraordinary Versatility: Premium cable ensures easy connection and can connect to AGM, lead acid, gel, and calcium batteries.
  • Lightweight Construction: This heavy-duty solar panel is lightweight and ideal for camping and other outdoor activities.
  • Germany Certified: Our solar panel is Germany certified, which is a strong endorsement of its exceptional quality.


  • Maximum Power: 200W
  • Voltage in the open circuit: 22.3V
  • Maximum power voltage: 18.2 volts
  • Maximum power current: 11A
  • Short-circuit current: 11.7A
  • Temperatures range: From -40°C to +85°C.
  • Weight: 10.6 kilograms
  • Size: 1476x35x670mm (L x H x W) Warranty: 12 months

How To Install Caravan Solar Panels

  • Choose a suitable location for the solar panel: The solar panel should be placed in an area that acquires direct sunlight for most of the day. It should also be protected from physical damage and debris.
  • Mount the solar panel: Use mounting brackets or adhesive to attach the solar panel to the roof of your caravan. Make sure it is securely mounted and leveled.
  • Connect the solar panel to the charge controller: Use the appropriate cables to connect the solar panel to the charge controller.
  • Connect the charge controller to the battery: Use the appropriate cables to connect the charge controller to the battery. 
  • Test the system: Turn on the charge controller and ensure it functions properly. You can also test the solar panel by placing a load (such as a light or small appliance) on the system to ensure it generates electricity.
  • Use the solar panel: Once it is installed and functioning properly, you can charge your battery and power your appliances and devices.

Following the manufacturer's instructions when installing a solar panel is vital, as the specific steps may vary depending on the model and brand you are using.

If you are uncomfortable installing the solar panel yourself, consider hiring a professional to do the installation for you.