Are you ready to embark on your next camping trip and thinking of adding solar panels to your caravan? You might be wondering if it would be a good idea to use your house solar panels on the caravan.
Simply put, although house solar panels differ from portable panels, they can be used for the caravan. If you are curious to learn how that is possible, here is all you need to know about using house solar panels for camping in a caravan.
Why use solar panels on caravans
Solar panels are a very useful feature for caravans. If you want to drive to and camp in a remote location while enjoying the convenience of using electrical power, solar panels are a must-have.
If your vehicle is solar-powered, you can drive farther from urban areas and camp in the wilderness without worrying about electricity, which you may need for heating or lighting at the campsite. Hence getting solar panels for the caravan may be the best decision for your camping trip.
House solar panels vs. portable solar panels for the caravan
As suggested earlier, house solar panels differ from portable panels, and you may think that it is impractical to use them for your caravan. The main concern is the solar panel’s size and weight, making moving and fixing them a challenging task.
House solar panels are bigger in size since they are designed to provide electricity to the entire household. It also means that they are made from high-quality materials built to last for many years.
Durability is vital, as they must be strong enough to withstand high winds and harsh weather. However, the size and the material used in these panels imply that house solar panels are expensive.
At the same time, the idea is if you already own house solar panels and want to use them on your caravan, you do not have to incur additional expenses in buying a new portable solar panel for the caravan. Moreover, since the solar panels are made of high-quality material, they will be durable. Also, since these house solar panels are designed to provide energy to the entire household, they offer the capacity to generate more energy if required.
Alternatively, portable solar panels are easy to transport and install since they are specifically designed for the outdoors, and portability is an important feature. However, they offer limited power sources, and if you expect to consume more power, you are better off with house solar panels.
Generally, a single house solar panel produces around 250 watts with variable efficiency levels. For better understanding, you can run a 625W microwave oven for around 1.5 hours, a 45W laptop for 22 hours, and a 1000W coffee maker for 1 hour.
On the other hand, a portable solar panel gives 100W producing 5 to 6 amps of current under direct sunlight. Therefore, with this kind of solar panel, you can run small devices, including lamps, small portable fans, mobile phones, laptops, or Wi-Fi routers. If you need more power, you will either need to use multiple portable solar panels as one or use a higher-watt solar panel.
Like house solar panels, many portable panels are also quite durable and made to last. However, if you are considering buying one, you may want to do some research before finding one of good quality.
How to use house solar panels for caravans
Considering the above comparison, we can easily deduce that you can use a house solar panel for your mobile home, given that all the components of the solar panel equipment are compatible and hence suitable for use. These fixed-house solar panels have many commonalities with portable panels but are designed and built differently, so verifying compatibility for your caravan is mandatory.
Both kinds of panels use sunlight to function and can charge a generator or your devices directly. Hence, while the mechanics behind the two are the same, if you want to use a house solar panel for the caravan, you must ensure that you have the right batteries to produce electricity and have sufficient room to accommodate the batteries. Moreover, you must have the right wiring for the solar panel to function properly.
To fix a house solar panel, you will need a solar battery, a solar panel, a regulator, an inverter, and cables. You will need to fix the panel where it gets direct sunlight. It is connected to the battery via a controller, which stores electricity, and you can use it to run your appliances or devices. Remember not to connect the solar panel directly to the battery, as the panel may overcharge the battery and burn it.
However, the biggest concern for a house solar panel is how you transport it, fit it, and fix it, given the bigger size and weight of the panels. There is a significant difference in the size of the portable and house solar panels.
Therefore you have to consider the trade-off between easy portability and more energy provision. If you want more power during your trip to run more devices, you are better off with a house solar panel. But if you do not have enough room and find portable panels easy to maneuver, you know which one to choose. You can place them on the top of the caravan or place them on the ground when not moving.