Best Solar Panels for Van 2020
Renogy 400W Monocrystalline Solar RV Kit with 30A Charger Controller
- Designed for off-grid solar panel system, Caravan, RV, boat, Green house Solar panel system. Monocrystalline Solar Cell efficiency: 21%; Ideal output: 2000Wh per day (depending on the availability of sunlight).
Renogy solar panel kit is the best for van life. It is really efficient and has a really high-power output. It is a 400-Watt monocrystalline solar panel kit that comes with four 100-Watt battery charging devices. The average output is 1600-2000 Watt on an average day. The kit works even in low-light and sub-optimal conditions. The frames are made of corrosion-resistant material; that is why they are durable and sturdy. Mostly over time, many solar panels performance is reduced. Thanks to the TPT back sheet in this kit, that is not a problem.
The kit comes with a Renogy Adventurer 30A PWM solar charge controller. It is compatible with gel and flooded batteries of 12V or 24V. The kit’s negative ground spacing ensures the important safety of the unit. It is also fully equipped to protect the unit from short circuits, reversed polarity, overload, and overcharging. The LDC display shows the charging data and also allows the user to change the parameters accordingly.
Price is reasonable
Efficient power output
All hardware is included
Easy charge controller
Durable and high-quality
Corrosion-resistant aluminum frame
Might not perform well in cold weather
The best solar panel kit for campervans in 2020
HQST 100 Watt 12 Volt Polycrystalline Solar Panel Kit with Solar Charge Controller
- The kit includes 1 pack 100 Watt 12 Volt Polycrystalline Solar Panel, 20 Amp 12V/24V MPPT Solar Charge Controller, 20Ft 12AWG Solar Panel and Controller Connector Cables,MPPT LCD Display ,1 Set of Mounting Z Brackets
The HQST 100-Watt is for people who are really new to the RV culture. It is easy to install and has efficient power output. It is sufficient to charge a variety of appliances, including water pumps, lights, RVs, and other small appliances. The average power output is 500-Watt per day. The output also depends on your usage. It can charge a 50Ah battery 50% in 3 hours in good sunlight conditions. You can add additional panels of 100-Watt to it to upgrade power efficiency.
The kit does not come with battery and battery cables. You have to buy them separately. It is really great for charging a 12V deep cycle battery. If you add an inverter to it, you can use more appliances. This kit also protects short circuits, overload, and overcharging. This solar panel kit is affordable, durable, and innovative if you are investing for the first time in a solar panel kit for RV.
Easy to install
The best solution for off-grid appliances
Comes with solar charge controller
Not very efficient on cloudy days
WindyNation 100 Watt Solar Panel Kit with LCD PWM Charge Controller + Solar Cable + Connectors + Mounting Brackets
- The kit includes: (1) 100 Watt WindyNation Solar Panel, 30-Amp (user adjustable) WindyNation P30L LCD Display Solar Charge Controller with Battery Temperature Sensor, 40 feet of UL Listed 12 AWG Solar Cable, all necessary Connectors, solar panel mounting hardware and Installation Manual.
WindyNation 100 Watt Solar Panel Kit comes with everything you need to get started with solar power in your van. If you are looking for an affordable, sturdy and durable solar panel kit, this is it. This is an efficient and reliable solar panel for campervans. The WindyNation Solar kit includes a 100 Watt WindyNation Solar Panel, 30-Amp WindyNation P30L LCD Display Solar Charge Controller with Battery Temperature Sensor, 40 feet of UL Listed 12 AWG Solar Cable, all necessary Connectors, solar panel mounting hardware and Installation Manual. The kit includes a polycrystalline panel. On an average day, it can deliver 350-Watts. It is a versatile, innovative, and high-quality unit that includes a P20L LCD charge controller. It helps in monitoring the voltage, load, ampere-hours. Moreover, it also monitors the temperature while charging the batteries.
As you can see, this is all you need! Windy Nation will provide about on average 350 Watt Hours (Wh) or 33 Amp hours of charge per day, depending on sunlight availability. If you need more power, it is easy to add panels instantly in the setup without having to upgrade the rest of the system. The included charge controller can handle up to 4pcs 100W solar panels (12 volt system) and 8pcs 100W solar panels (24 volt system). Sufficient to say, you can add all the power you need.
PWM Solar Charge Controller has user adjustable settings! LCD Screen shows system amperage, voltage, amp-hours, temperature and DC load draw
The PWM Solar Charge Controller comes with a LCD screen that lets you easily keep track of system amperage, DC load draw, voltage, amp-hours, and temperature. The user settings are easy to navigate and fine-tine to your desired settings.
The user/controller can tune the charging efficiency according to their needs. There are a total of three 100-Watt panels of 12V available, and you can add two more, or you can use six 100-Watt panels of 24V. The solar charge controller is compatible with lead-acid, gel, AWG, and lithium batteries. It comes with all components you need: 40ft AWG solar cable, 12V AGM deep cycle battery, MC4 connectors.
This kit is all you need for your RV or camper van.
Has everything you need to get started
Quick to setup
Easy to upgrade
Charge controller to help you control almost everything
Easy to clean
Can add further panels if needed
Temperature sensor for battery
Energy production is less compared to Reneogy or HQST
Panels quality is a bit under-par for the price range
WindyNation 100 Watt Solar Panel Kit is the best beginner solar panel kit for vans in 2020.
Go Power! Weekender Complete Solar and Inverter System
- Run your TV and other AC appliances anytime day or night without the noise of a generator
The Go Power solar panel kit is another high-quality and efficient solar panel system.It comes with a deep cycle battery and draws power from it with the help of an inverter. It is a complete kit with solar panels and inverter.
It has an efficient power output and is perfect when you go on a trip over the weekend. The efficiency depends upon the amount of energy you are using. On average, its expected power output is 800-Watt.
Moreover, the use of monocrystalline panels has increased the efficiency of this system. Corrosion resistance Aluminum frames keep the system safe from the harsh climate. The charge controller is smart and can control multiple batteries.
It also comes with an LCD screen that shows the settings of the solar panel. The solar unit is easy to use as it delivers AC output. The inverter that comes with the kit delivers 1500-Watt at 100V to 12V power.
A battery is not included in the kit, but it recommends a 200A battery bank. The Go Power! Weekender is one of the best solar panel kits in the market. It is feasible for charging all devices and appliances in your RV.
Inverter included in the kit
Easy to install
Provides enough power to charge all appliances
High power single solar panels
Solar panel kit is expandable
The kit does not come with a battery
HQST 50 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Solar Panel for Off-Grid
- High module conversion efficiency. Bypass diodes minimize power drop caused by shade and ensure excellent performance in low-light environments.
The HQST Solar Panel kit keeps your appliances running. It works perfectly, even during bad weather. The design is super sleek, and it can be easily mounted on the roof of RV. It has a high-quality and durable built. The kit comes with a high power output feature, but the power drops on cloudy days. The frame is made out of corrosion-resistant aluminum that keeps it working even on wet days. This solar panel kit is very versatile and easy to install.
It is lightweight and easy to carry. It can be mounted according to your need: Z-brackets, Pole mounts, and Tilt mounts. The unit comes with an already drilled hole that makes the process even easier and secure. The solar panel kit is perfect for 12V battery charging. It includes MC4 connectors and 12AWG cables.
Very light weight
Easy to install
Corrosions resistant aluminum frame
HQST 100 Watt Monocrystalline 12V Solar Panel with Solar Connectors
- Product Efficiency High module conversion efficiency. Bypass diodes minimize power drop caused by shade and ensure excellent performance in low-light environments.
HQST 100 Watt Monocrystalline 12V Solar Panel is the best budget solar panel in 2020. It is by far the cheapest solar panel kit that we can recommend and is comparable to Renogy Solar Panels. If you’re looking to get into the campervan life on a budget, this is for you. The HQSR Solar Panel is a compact design with higher efficiency solar cells that help increase space efficiency. Usually, the larger the panel, the more the power. HQSR dispells that notion and provides a ton of power in a space saving small size. The high module conversion efficiency, bypasses diodes to minimize power drop caused by shades while ensuring excellent performance in low-light environments.
HQST 100 Watt Monocrystalline Solar Panels are easy to install and use, maybe on of the easiest to install. It comes with pre-drilled holes on the back, to allow for fast mounting and securing. HQST Monocrystalline Solar Panels are compatible with a wide variety of different mounting systems, including Z-brackets, Pole Mounts, and Tilt Mounts. Make sure to mount the brackets allow to maximize sunlight reception. This will provide all the power you need to live the van lifestyle with a off-grid solar power system. The corrosion-resistant aluminum frame for extended outdoor use, allowing the panels to last for decades. It is constructed with advanced encapsulation material to not only withstand heavy rains, but also wind and heavy snow.
Cost effective price
Highly dependable with its many efficient polycrystalline solar cells
High-quality solar panel and solid construction
Corrosion-resistant aluminum frame
Build is sturdy but could be better
HQST 12-volt 100-watt Polycrystalline Solar Panel is the best budget solar panel for vans in 2020. With a long warranty and corrosion-resistant aluminum material construction, this is as good as it gets and will last practically forever.
Renogy 100 Watts 12 Volts Monocrystalline Solar Starter Kit
- Includes 100W Solar Panel + 30A PWM Negative ground Charge Controller + MC4 Connectors +8Ft 10AWG Tray Cable+ Mounting Z Brackets for RV, Boat
Renogy 100 Watts 12 Volts Monocrystalline Solar Starter Kit is the most popular Solar Panel for Vans in 2020, giving one of the best value for price. Made by Renogy, a trustworthy and recognizable name in solar panel industry for providing quality solar panel kits. This has long been a favorite of campervans and RVs. This Solar Panel kit contains a 100 watt solar panel, a 30 amp charge negative ground charge controller, MC4 connectors, tray cable and a mounting rack. Everything you need to charge and link up to your 12V battery is provided. You can except roughly 500 watt hours of energy per day, depending on sunlight. In ideal sunlight conditions, you can charge from 50% to 100% in about 3 hours. 100 watts of power will easily have enough power to run all your devices. Negative grounding controller comes with multiple protections. These include battery reversed, overloading, short-circuit and over charging/discharging protection, to make sure the broader off grid applications and safety.
Renogy has probably some of the best customer service, quickly helping in troubleshooting issues, returning items still under warranty and resolving any other issues you may have. Additionally, if you are slightly on the fence of whether or not 100 watts seems like enough power for your specific set of needs, consider looking into the following larger solar panel kit. An amazing benefit is that you can wire it into a series together with many solar panels, to get additional solar power. Renogy Solar Starter Kit is made to withstand the elements, and can withstand snow, wind, and other harsh elements. The solar panel is constructed out of strong and sturdy materials that have high-conversion efficiency module. They consist of high-transparency and anti-reflective glass. The corrosion-resistant aluminum frame is made for extended outdoor use, allowing the panels to last for decades. This can outlast your van. There is no doubt why so many people living the van life, rank this the best solar panel for campervans in 2020!
Most popular solar panel for vans
Amazing quality construction
100-watt power, more than enough
Wind and snow resistant
Best bang for your price with a great affordable price.
Great customer service
Heavier than most solar panels
A little tricky to connect the small ports.
Renogy Monocrystalline Solar Starter Kit is the best solar panel for vans in 2020. Made of Monocrystalline, making it better than most solar panels.
Newpowa 100 Watt Monocrystalline 100W 12V Solar Panel
- New DesignSmaller in Size, Same Output, Higher Cells Effciency Compare to Most Other Brands
Newpowa 100 Watt Monocrystalline 100W 12V Solar Panel is a cheap option worthy of your consideration. The performance of this far exceeds expectation at the price point. The high-performance cells encapsulated in EVA give for this great performance. The heavy-duty anodized aluminum frame allows for exceptional durability. At full charge, it outputs 100 watts. It comes pre-installed with diodes for quick and easy installation. MC4 cables are also included. This panel has a 25 year transferable warranty. The solar panel is full sized, allowing for maximum efficiency and use. This means you can use all your van appliances. The rugid and sturdy design can withstand all elements of the weather, be it snow, hail, wind pressure or rain.
Highly durable and heavy-duty
Fast and easy installation
WIthstands snow load, hail, and high wind pressure
Great long lasting warranty
Junction box construction is subpar.
Newpowa 100 Watt Monocrystalline 100W 12V Solar Panel is a worthwhile cheap solar panel for vans.
From the above-mentioned solar panels kits, the Renogy Monocrystalline solar panel is the best-recommended product as it has monocrystalline panels. It is priced reasonably and comes with all the important hardware you need to install a solar panel.
If you are new in this field, then the HQST Polycrystalline solar panel is the best starter kit. The best solar panel is the one that has efficient power output and sleek in design. A solar panel with an aluminum frame will double the lifetime of the panel and keeps the appliances safe. In short, if you buy any of the above reviews solar panel kits, you will get the most out of it.
A solar panel is a great way to charge the batteries of your RV or camper van. The solar energy produced with the solar panel is clean and environment friendly. Installing solar panels is a slightly technical job. After installation, the only job is to charge them when the sun is out. They produce quiet, pollution-free, and clean energy. Every individual has different needs and requirements according to their usage. Solar power-based energy in RV or camper vans is the unique, innovative, and important way of lifestyle.
You should know about solar panels before investing in them. Here are a few key points about solar panels you must keep in mind while choosing the best for your RV or camper van.
Types of Solar Panels
The panels of the solar panel are the main part of the kit. They capture light from the sun and produce energy by converting it into electricity. The efficiency of the solar panel increases if more high-grade cells are used. If your kit has advanced panels, it will produce more power, even on the days when there is not enough sunlight.
Typically, panels operate at a 15% efficiency rate in typical models and a 20% efficiency rate in advanced models. Solar panels are built with silicon. It promises the best output rate.
There are different types of solar panels and panel cells.
Portable Solar Panel
These are mostly used during camping trips. The kit comes with a case to store and you can easily put them in your vehicle. They don’t take much space. These are affordable and can charge small appliances.
Fixed Solar Panel
These are attached to the roof of your vehicle. You can add additional hardware to tilt them into. These have some benefits over portable ones as they are not easy to steal and don’t take space inside your vehicle. As long as the sun is out, they get charged. There are some downsides as well. You can no longer enjoy the sunroof. Moreover, they are difficult to position.
Rigid Solar Panel
These panels are made to stand strong during harsh weather, wind, hailstorm or sandstorm. The frame is made of corrosion-resistant aluminum and is more durable. The glass under which solar cells are placed is scratch proof.
Flexible Solar Panels
Flexible solar panels come with no frame. That’s why they are low profile and bendable. The flexible solar panels are covered with soft plastic which is scratch proof. Flexible solar can bend up to 30 degrees. The flexible solar panels can’t bend beyond this as it can cause serious damage to wires. Flexible solar panels don’t have a long life span. The major drawback of the flexible solar panels is the more you bend them, the less efficient they become to solar energy.
Monocrystalline panel cells
These cells are made of purified silicon. These are more efficient and portable. When sunlight strikes the surface of the cell, the absorbed energy creates an electric field. This field contains voltage and current which is used to generate power. The lifetime of these cells is almost 30 years.
Polycrystalline panel cells
These have low efficient output, but the only advantage is the lower price. The polycrystalline cell is made by melting many small fragments of silicon rather than using the single crystal. The cells have a blue hue. They work perfectly for up to 25 years.
Amorphous panel cells
These are very different as compared to the other two. They are made of fine silicon and are flexible. Amorphous cells are effective even on cloudy days.
If the area where you are going to use the panels has limited hours of sunlight, go for the high-grade panel.
Solar panels don’t work at a steady rate. To control the charge rate, you need a charge controller. The device has many benefits. It protects the solar panel batteries as well as the panels from getting damaged.
All the kits above come with a charge controller. The controller automatically manages the speed of the pulse. The controller comes with an LCD display where you can manually adjust the settings and see them for yourself.
You must have a deep cycle battery for your RV solar panel to work. It is an efficient way to store the energy produced and keep it for later use. Solar panels work perfectly with batteries ranging from 12V to 24V. The capacity of a battery is measured in Ampere Hours. A 100-Watt battery provides 100AH.
Types of batteries
These batteries provide higher discharge cycles. They are not corrosion resistant and require high maintenance. They consist of lead plates.
These have silica between the plates and are difficult to charge. They are expensive and not good with rapid discharge situations.
These have glass plates and are not prone to spillage. They are mostly preferred for deep cycle batteries. They work great in a rapid discharge situation.
The stored energy in the batteries is only accessible as DC power, and most of the appliances and devices we use run on AC. A Power inverter is all you need to convert DC power to AC power.
A 1500-Watt power inverter works best for smaller appliances. Appliances like TV, coffee maker, laptop, lamps operate on 10A AC. For high current appliances, you need a heavy power inverter. You should get a power inverter that is compatible with the battery you are using.
It is not a very difficult task to calculate how much power you need and for how long. You just have to remember that the capacity of your battery, measured in Ah, determines the power you’ll need.
The output of the solar panel will tell how much time your battery will take to recharge.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Do I have to install a battery?
Yes, the battery will store the solar energy from your solar panels, and then you could use your appliances at night, even when the solar panel is not charging.
Q: What type of panel is the most efficient?
Monocrystalline panels are the most efficient solar panels. However, there is a catch. They are expensive as compared to polycrystalline panels.
Q: Do I require additional hardware?
Whether you require additional hardware or not depends on the type of solar kit you buy. A kit that has all components for installation is the best for you. If your kit has solar panels, battery, and a power inverter, it will be enough. Additionally, you can get a switching kit to change between shore and solar power.
Q: What do you need to install a solar panel on your RV?
For a typical installation, you would need Solar panels, a charge controller, a battery to store the power, and a power inverter for converting current.