Last Updated on May 28, 2021
Driving off into the sunset for a caravan trip is exciting! But not if you land in areas with no electrical hookups. A great way to continue cooking and watching a movie in the wilderness is to add solar panels to your caravan. Let’s look at the best eco-friendly panels that will make your trip go smoother.
Our Top 3 Caravan Solar Panel Picks
1. The Best Caravan Solar Panel Kit By Eco-Worthy
2. The Best Portable Solar Panel For Caravans By Photonic Universe
3. The Best Freestanding Solar Panels For Caravans By Brillihood
These Are The Best Caravan Solar Panels Of 2021
We chose this sleek guy as the best kit for several reasons. One of the main perks you can look forward to is a high-quality design – which makes the Eco-Worthy solar panel reliable in the worst weather conditions. If you love road-tripping at random times of the year, this toughie is a good choice – come wind or sunshine!
Besides being highly efficient, the 100 W model is perfect for leisure battery charging and supplying power to other solar-using systems for both stationary and mobile use. The charge controller is fitted with user-friendly accessories including the LCD interface with a fully automated operation.
The installation is easy and everything is covered by Eco-Worthy. You will get a 5-year guarantee on the materials and workmanship and 25-year transferable power output insurance.
- Simple to install.
- Strong build.
- Several warranties.
- No documentation is included in this package.
This 160W single crystalline solar panel is on par with the highest quality and performance standards. This panel is one of the best portable options for motorhomes as you will get a 5m cable (the ideal length for solar cables) that delivers sterling work despite high roof temperatures.
This panel’s endurance makes it ideal if you are looking for a long-lasting panel for any off-grid situation. You can install it on anything that moves including boats, caravans and stuff that don’t move (yep, power that tent!). The wattage can charge a 12V battery to power multiple devices and appliances. It comes with a tough sealed metal build that makes it waterproof and weatherproof.
The panel is suitable for permanent outdoor use and several of these panels can be connected to create extra power. Each panel also has a unique serial number for quality control and better warranty protection.
- The panel can produce up to 13V (even on a dull day). Your batteries will stay topped up.
- It can be paired with one or more equal or lower capacity panels for increased output.
- Great battery powering.
- Some reviews indicate that the battery charges at a slow pace. The maximum pace, even in full sun, may only be 8.5A.
Why did we crown this bendy noodle as one of the best? As your eyes probably told you, the shape makes this solar panel very versatile and easy to handle or carry. Brillihood’s flexible panel does not have the rigidity that makes traditional solar panels impossible to fit on curved surfaces (like a caravan’s roof).
This model can be connected in tandem to a battery and charge controller (or regulator) for a wide range of power applications. The maximum power (Pmax) is in the range of 100 Watts, voltage at Pmax of 18V, and current at Pmax of 5.55A. With a power tolerance of +/- 3% and a built-in microcontroller, you can look forward to a steady supply of power.
You can monitor the activities of the panel thanks to an LCD display that sports an adjustable parameter. There is also protective features against electrical naties like short circuits, open circuits, reverse or overloaded currents. You are sure to love its full 3-stage PWM charge management and there are two USB ports to charge phones and laptops.
- Slim, light and portable.
- Flexible and mountable on curved surfaces.
- Suitable for all atmospheric conditions.
- The position of the junction box on the underside makes it harder to mount.
Are you thinking about giving up your permanent residence and living in your caravan or motor-home? This solar kit could be a good choice. It was designed for permanent outdoor use.
This panel can provide you with direct electric power or the opportunity to charge a 12 V battery. The direct power option is suitable for things like fans and lights whereas the battery can power long list of appliances.
During charging, the 12 V battery module is protected by a 5A charge controller. The controller has an array of safety functions to prevent overcharging, discharge, reverse current and many others. Indeed, thanks to Pulse Width Modulation technology, the controller has a high capacity to accept and store charge.
But is this creature any good outdoors? Yep, its polycrystalline cells are durable and the panel is designed with sealed aluminium. This ensures that your panel will stay safe and sturdy enough to provide years of free power. The whole unit is also waterproof to withstand getting slapped in the face by rain and storms.
This model also has a 5V 1.2A USB port to charge all USB-enabled devices. You can stay connected with loved ones even when you’re road tripping in your caravan. Another good feature is a pair of load terminals to use for direct 12 V battery powering.
- Simple setup.
- Effective performance.
- This panel is not flexible.
This compact powerhouse offers a range of perks. Besides being a handsome devil, the kit is very versatile. It does not matter if you go camping, riding or swank it with your yacht, this solar panel can be easily fitted to boats, vehicles, and tents.
Besides being installation ready, it can withstand strong winds and heavy snow loads. The multi-layered sheet lamination also ensures that the panel provides exceptional service for a long time. But let’s also look at how you are protected against any equipment failure.
When you pick this panel, the manufacturer offers a 5-year guarantee against workmanship flaws or materials failure. You also get a 25-year transferable power output warranty.
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- 100 Watt 12 Volt.
- Easy to install.
- Reliable and durable.
- You have to contact the manufacturer to get the panel’s electronic manual.
Cute, right? But this foldable solar panel is more than just an unusual design. You can expect great performance, durability, and safety features.
Let’s dive into those performance specifications! This panel is quite efficient with a 22 percent energy conversion rate. This means that it changes sunlight into power way better than most other panels.
Besides being foldable and portable, you can also handle this panel safely. It is safety certified and also comes with surge and short circuit protection. The solar panel is also weather proof so take it along on that caravan trip even if the weather looks a little grumpy.
The USB ports are universal. Any 5 V USB device is supported including tablets, smartphones, speakers and headphones.
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- Outstanding performance.
- The USB port is very versatile.
- Easy to carry and set up.
- Safety tested and certified (RoHS, CE).
- The junction box is not waterproof and must be kept dry.
This slight square is perfect for anyone who wishes to use their solar panel for different jobs. Sure, it is great for your caravan but whilst you are not on the road, what else can you use this for? Quite a surprising number of things!
The panel can be used to power stables and sheds, boats, driveways, electric fences, electric signs, yurts, and campsites. When you use several of these panels, you can power mobile food stands, small buildings and even remote telecommunications.
The 10 Watt panel comes with crocodile clips, 4 m cable, and a 10-year guarantee.
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- Exceptionally versatile.
- Aluminium alloy frame and toughened glass.
- Batteries not included.
Look stylish this year with a power-generating carry case. You read that right. This stylish case is ultra-thin for easy transportation and storage while setting it up is as easy as flipping open the case.
This 80 Watt pair of panels are suitable for caravans and other types of vehicles, boats, and even picnics. The panels are smaller than most but their energy conversion is powerful enough to feed your electric needs. You even get cables and clips to charge your car’s battery should it give you trouble in the middle of the wilderness!
The carry case is thick enough to protect the panels and the handles make them easy to carry. You can simply fold and slide the panels into a thin area once you are done with them.
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- Ultra easy to carry, open, close and store.
- Versatile enough to use anywhere.
- Small but powerful.
- Without batteries, the current is not stable.
If you love the idea of panels in a suitcase, then here’s another one! The snazzy black and blue case is of a good quality and protects the panels during storage while the handle makes it easy to carry to the car, caravan or RV. Indeed, while you can use it elsewhere, this solar panel is perfect for recreational vehicles with lots of laptops, phones, and more.
The kit is packed with goodies. You will enjoy several cables that connect to laptops and power outlets. There are clamps for the battery, a hassle-free warranty, and a good manual that explains everything about how to set up and use this panel.
Okay, but what about the power and sunlight stuff? You’ll be glad to hear that it’s sunlight conversion rate is very efficient, ranging between 21.5 percent and 23.5 percent. The 63 Watt 19 V panel is also designed to be safe – your devices will never suffer damage while charging.
Do you want some more tech treats? There are several USB ports that allow you to charge more than one device at the same time and the ports actually SmartIC technology to recognize each device and to provide the best charging speed. A special clamp can also rescue you when your car battery fails and need a power boost.
- Hassle-free setup.
- Easy storage.
- Overcharging, overheating and short circuit protection.
- Can service multiple devices at the same time.
- High energy conversion rate.
- When the sunlight is not enough, the output port may flick between ON/OFF.
To be fair, most solar panels for caravans are not heavy. But sometimes, we need something that is ultra-light to protect the caravan, ourselves, and to make handling the panel a breeze. This ultra-thin solar panel weighs a mere 1.3 kilograms which makes it easy to carry, install and to store.
Power-wise, the 50 Watt 12 V panel can provide electricity to boats, caravans, RVs, and camping sites. This item is particularly inviting if you hate the look of a solar panel on your roof. Being 2 mm thin, you will barely notice this guy clinging to the top of your caravan!
But how durable is this solar panel? You might feel that super thin and light objects are not very weather-resistant but here is the good news. Thanks to its design and materials, this panel is not only discreet but it can handle extreme winds and snow loads.
- Exceptionally thin and lightweight.
- Can barely be seen after installation.
- Superbly flexible.
- Short circuit protection.
- Some assembly is required.
Your Guide To Caravan Solar Panels
Our homes are filled with appliances that need electricity. When the power is gone, we miss the sound of the kettle, lament the loss of the indoor TV ariel and there might even be a bad word or two when the outage happens while you are using the pressure washer. A caravan solar panel can spare your nerves and keep power more constant.
New to caravan solar panels? Mop that sweat off your brow and dive into our guide below.
The Crux of Solar Panels
Energy is an amazing thing – it can shift between forms and things. This trait makes solar panels possible because they take the Sun’s energy and store it as electrical power. You can tap into it directly or choose to store the power in a battery.
Most solar panels trap sunlight and convert it to direct current (DC), which is subsequently changed into alternating current (AC) for the electrical circuits in a building and/or vehicle. Excess energy may then be fed back into a battery storage system or into the electricity grid for which you could be paid an initially agreed feed-in tariff.
What Kinds of Solar Panels Are There?
There are two main types of solar panels.
Crystalline Solar Panels
There are two types of crystalline solar panels – monocrystalline panels and polycrystalline (multi-crystalline) panels. Monocrystalline panels have a reputation for higher efficiency but this does not mean polycrystalline panels are worthless. Similar to most other high-tech products, the performance of solar panels depends on the manufacturer’s design.
Thin Film Panels
Thin-film panels provide a cheaper alternative to crystalline panels. They are made by spraying a thin layer of photovoltaic material onto a base surface of glass or metal. Solar panels for caravans also come in free-standing and roof-mounted types and both come in a variety of designs.
Free-standing panels can be adjusted to catch sunlight and moved around on the ground and between vehicles. Rooftop panels are permanently fixed to the top of the caravan. The latter panel is less versatile while free-standing panels come with the schlep of having to be carried around, stored, and they also have a higher risk of being damaged from accidents or improper handling.
A Quick Word Of Advice
Before you buy a solar panel for your caravan, be clear about why you need it for. A panel that only powers lights has different specifications from those that power multiple devices. Finally, always buy a product that protects you as a customer – there has to be a guarantee of some kind!