Caravan Rooftop Solar Panels

Going back just a few years ago, who would have thought that we would be discussing caravan rooftop solar panels as a means of producing electricity on board a caravan.

It still seems a bit futuristic doesn’t it?

However, caravan rooftop solar panels are a reality but the question is, are they worth it?

Quick answer – Yes they are worth it. Particularly if you are attending a caravan rally, siting or storing your caravan.

Here is our top pick caravan rooftop solar panel.

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Renogy Flexible Solar Panel 175 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Semi-Flexible Bendable Mono Panel for Marine RV Cabin Van Car Uneven Surfaces Off-Grid Systems
  • 【Extremely Flexible】 Renogy Flexible Solar Panel is capable of meeting a wide range of applications where standard panels can be inconvenient to mount, such as on the curved roof of an airstream. Curves up to 248 degrees,
  • 【Ultra Lightweight】Thanks to advanced polymer materials, which is 70% less than conventional solar panels, making transportation and installation a breeze.
  • 【Super Thin Lamination】Renogy 175W Lightweight Panel laid flat is only 2mm! Approximately 95% thinner than its rigid counterpart, this panel is ideal for a stealthy solar setup.
  • 【Highly Durable】 Solar panel is made of premium ETFE materials, providing higher light transmittance and longer service lifetime. Rigorously tested, 100W panel was designed to withstand extreme wind of up to 2400 Pa and snow loads of up to 5400 Pa.
  • 【Wide Applications】 Renogy 175 Watt Flexible Monocrystalline Panel can be primarily used on off-grid applications that include rooftop, RV, boats and any curvy surfaces.

Detailed answer:

Are solar panels on caravans worth it?

To answer this question we need to look first so a bit of expectation management.

If you think that solar panels can run all of your electrical appliances that you currently run on mains hook up then you will be very disappointed.

As a general rule, anything linked with heating or cooling is out.

This includes:

  • The caravan heater
  • The water heater
  • The kettle
  • The microwave
  • The fridge
  • These items use just too much energy and should be run on gas if your off grid.  You should get a kettle that can be heated up on the cooker.

You may also need to adapt your caravan slightly by changing your incandescent light bulbs for LED.

What can you run on 150 watt caravan rooftop solar panel?

This is where it can become a bit more complicated so pay attention class!

The power produced from your caravan solar panel depends on two major factors.

  • Where you are in the world.
  • The angle of the solar panel.

Where you are in the world.

As you can see from this map, the UK has on average between two and a half and three hours of maximum sun hours per day.

Where in the world caravan rooftop solar panels work best

This is the time where your solar panel will be producing the maximum 150w of power.

The angle of the solar panel

The more horizontal the solar panel the more it will produce. Because it’s looking more directly at the sky.

A 150w solar panel will run a 150 light bulb when operating at full strength.

Or

A 150w solar panel will, if it gets its average three hours per day, produce 3 x 150w = 450w.

This power will be stored in the battery.

It’s worth noting that you will loose a bit of that 450w as it makes its journey to the battery and depends on the temperature of the battery.

So let’s say we have 440w left to play with per day.

Here is a list of rough power consumptions for items in the caravan. You should times the power consumption by the amount of hours that you intend to use it.

eg. A 5w LED bulb used for 4 hours is a total of 20w leaving us now with 420w.

LED bulb 6w per bulb x 4 bulbs = 24w.  Used for 4 hours per day.  Total  96w

Mobile phone change 5w.  Two phones take 1 hour each (total 2 hours)  Total 10w

Water pump 750w.  Used for a total of 20 minutes (or 0.3 hours) Total 250w

This is a total of  356w per day with 84w left over from our 420w.

So in this example your new roof top solar panel would replace back into the battery what you would use if you were away off grid ie on a caravan rally.

if you just wanted to keep the battery topped up whilst in storage or on site (but not hooked up.  Then the caravan rooftop solar panel would easily be able to replace the small amount of power that the caravan alarm may use.

Note. You can find the amount of watts that items use on the silver label on the item.

How many rooftop solar panels do I need to run a caravan?

Using the example above, one 150w solar panel would be sufficient.  If your consumption is higher then you may need more.

How long do caravan solar panels last?

The solar panel will last many years.  It should be effective for longer if kept clean.

How much do caravan solar panels weigh?

Please see the comparison table below for technical information.

Free standing solar panels for caravans

Should you not want to permanently put the solar panel on the caravan roof, you may like free standing portable solar panels instead.

Renogy Flexible Solar Panel 175 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Semi-Flexible Bendable Mono Panel for Marine RV Cabin Van Car Uneven Surfaces Off-Grid Systems
Renogy 100 Watt 12 Volt Extremely Flexible Monocrystalline Solar Panel - ETFE Layer, Ultra Lightweight, Ultra Thin, up to 248 Degree Arc, for Motorhome, Caravan, Camper, Boats, Roofs, Uneven Surfaces
Renogy Solar Panel 200 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline High Efficiency Module PV Power for Motorhomes, Vehicle, Caravan, Boat and Off Grid Applications (Compact Design)
Name
Renogy Flexible Solar Panel 175 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Semi-Flexible Bendable Mono Panel for Marine RV Cabin Van Car Uneven Surfaces Off-Grid Systems
Renogy 100 Watt 12 Volt Extremely Flexible Monocrystalline Solar Panel - ETFE Layer, Ultra Lightweight, Ultra Thin, up to 248 Degree Arc, for Motorhome, Caravan, Camper, Boats, Roofs, Uneven Surfaces
Renogy Solar Panel 200 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline High Efficiency Module PV Power for Motorhomes, Vehicle, Caravan, Boat and Off Grid Applications (Compact Design)
Weight
175W
100W
200W
Power In Watts
2.81Kg
1.81Kg
N/K
Flexiable?
Yes
Yes
No
Renogy Flexible Solar Panel 175 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Semi-Flexible Bendable Mono Panel for Marine RV Cabin Van Car Uneven Surfaces Off-Grid Systems
Name
Renogy Flexible Solar Panel 175 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Semi-Flexible Bendable Mono Panel for Marine RV Cabin Van Car Uneven Surfaces Off-Grid Systems
Weight
175W
Power In Watts
2.81Kg
Flexiable?
Yes
Renogy 100 Watt 12 Volt Extremely Flexible Monocrystalline Solar Panel - ETFE Layer, Ultra Lightweight, Ultra Thin, up to 248 Degree Arc, for Motorhome, Caravan, Camper, Boats, Roofs, Uneven Surfaces
Name
Renogy 100 Watt 12 Volt Extremely Flexible Monocrystalline Solar Panel - ETFE Layer, Ultra Lightweight, Ultra Thin, up to 248 Degree Arc, for Motorhome, Caravan, Camper, Boats, Roofs, Uneven Surfaces
Weight
100W
Power In Watts
1.81Kg
Flexiable?
Yes
Renogy Solar Panel 200 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline High Efficiency Module PV Power for Motorhomes, Vehicle, Caravan, Boat and Off Grid Applications (Compact Design)
Name
Renogy Solar Panel 200 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline High Efficiency Module PV Power for Motorhomes, Vehicle, Caravan, Boat and Off Grid Applications (Compact Design)
Weight
200W
Power In Watts
N/K
Flexiable?
No