Instead of looking for a van with solar panels for sale, perhaps it would be better to find the best solar panels for van for camping.
And you will be spoilt for choice since there are so many of them! You need to read reviews of the select products along this line. That way, you will be able to make a good decision.
Get the best solar panels and the right deep cycle batteries. Consequently, you will even be able to run a fridge in the camper van to keep your snacks and drinks cold. In addition, you can keep your devices juiced. Perhaps you can even run a small TV set.
What to Consider When Buying the Best Solar Panels for Van
With so many rigid and flexible solar panels for camper vans to choose from, it can be a bit challenging if it is your first step into renewable energy. However, the following guide will help you to get something that will give you value for money:
Solar Type – Rigid or Flexible
Well, the truth is that rigid solar panels are more than flexible ones. However, if you intend to install the panel on your van and keep it there, try the flexible ones. On the other hand, if you will need to use the solar panel for different things, get a foldable one. The bottom line is that whatever design you choose, it will serve you well if it is of the right wattage.
Portable vs Fixed Solar Panels for Van
If you do not want to install solar units on the roof of your van, you will want to consider portable units. In fact, we have reviewed a few in the reviews section. In addition, there is minimal space in the van. That is why you need the folding solar panels because they are about the size of a briefcase when folded.
Another thing that you must consider is whether you want fixed solar panels. In addition, such panels require a substantial installation job on the roof.
However, the good thing is that once installed, it will always stay there. In addition, it will collect sunshine even when traveling. Therefore, fixed solar panels can sometimes be more convenient than portable ones.
The weight of a portable solar panel is also very important. For example, lighter ones are easier to install without help. Heavier ones can be a bother. Therefore, consider panels that weigh the utmost 10 pounds.
In the reviews section, you will see that we have reviewed some 50, 100 and 120-watt panels. The wattage that you choose will depend on your needs.
For instance, if you just need to keep your deep cycle battery charged all the time, you may need a 100W solar panel. On the other hand, if you need to charge your devices, run your campervan fridge and charge your lamps, 100 to 200 Watts will do just fine.
On the other hand, 50-Watt and fewer solar panels are good for charging your small devices such as smartphones and tablets. In addition, there are many such small modules too, so you will be spoilt for choice.
However, it is preferable to get the high wattage ones because such can run appliances, charge devices and recharge your RV deep cycle batteries as needed.
Most of the time, your solar panels will be exposed to extreme weather. Therefore, you need to consider the waterproof rating of your motorhome solar panels. For instance, to be rainproof and windproof, they need to have a waterproof rating of at least IP65.
The best solar panel frames are made of aluminum. Therefore, they are corrosion resistant. In addition, they should have a sealing around the edges so that they do not allow water to get in.
If you get the flexible van solar panels, check that they are made of polymer material. Such is bendable without cracking. On the other hand, the rigid types are mostly made of tempered glass.
If the camper van solar panels that you are considering are the folding types, at least make sure that they have the best fabric on the back. On the same note, most come with PVC fabric, which can resist UV degradation over a long time.
Price, Warranty and Customer Service
If it is your first time buying solar panels for van roof, you might need a lot of information about different things. For instance, you might need to know how to install them, how to test and so on. As a result, you need responsive customer service.
When it comes to the price, you will find that some solar panels for campers sell at exorbitant prices. For instance, the Paxcess solar panel that we reviewed here costs double what the others cost. You can compare the features to see whether it is worth the money.
The warranty should be at least 365 days. In addition, you should find out what types of damage the warranty covers. In addition, if it has a money-back guarantee, it is even better!
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the questions that most people ask regarding solar panels for campervans:
How many solar panels do I need for my van?
This depends on your batteries and your power needs. On the same note, it is not really a question of how many you need, but it is about the wattage that you should get. Therefore, try at least 200 watts.
High wattage solar panels charge the battery faster even when the weather is cloudy. You can also get three solar panels of 120 Watts each. To save space though, it is best to buy one panel with higher wattage.
What is solar panel efficiency and what should I expect?
The efficiency of the best solar panels for camper van is really about how much sunshine it can convert into energy.
Monocrystalline solar panels are the most efficient because they have a conversion rate of up to 23.5%. In addition, some manufacturers say that solar panels have a conversion rate of 25%.
However, always take such information with a pinch of salt. If you remove the hype, the efficiency of most panels comes down to 18 to 21%.
What are the best solar panels for a campervan?
Some of the top brand names that you ought to consider include Renogy, WindyNation and TP-solar. However, all of the ones that we have looked at in this post are good.
On the same note, if you are considering the size of the solar panels, do not go for the 50-Watt ones unless you don’t need much power.
Therefore, start with at least 100 Watts. However, 400-Watt van solar system would be the best for a motorhome.
Solar Panels for Van Reviews
The reason why we love van life is that it allows us to escape the stresses of daily life. However, this does not mean living like a pauper or a miser. In addition, solar panels for van don’t cost too much.
Therefore, with a small, one-time investment, you can make your camper van a good escape haven with the best solar panels for van.
1. Renogy 100W Solar Panels for Van
Renogy is one of the most renowned names in the solar energy industry. Therefore, you can always trust one of their panels. The good thing is that you can use their solar panels across the board on vans, outdoors and in various other spaces.
First, this is a monocrystalline solar panel. Therefore, it is more efficient than polycrystalline ones. In addition, they convert up to 23.5 percent of the sunshine. Therefore, you can trust this solar panel to charge your battery fast (fast is relative).
Second, you will get close to 100 watts of power, which is quite a lot. We say close because no solar panel will ever get the full wattage rating unless it is in a laboratory setting. Therefore, we figure that if you get 75 watts from a 100-Watt panel, it is fair enough.
Third, this is a portable solar panel. In fact, it is foldable. Therefore, you cannot install it on the van roof because of two things:
- It is not flexible in design
- It comes with a kickstand
- It is of a foldable design
Because it folds and occupies a small space, you can pack it into your van easily.
The only disadvantage that you should be aware of is the poor warranty service. They are not very clear about the types of damage covered under the warranty.
- It is easy to start using with minimal installation
- Built for outdoor use so it is weatherproof
- Can keep your devices charged throughout your camping experience
- Doesn’t need to stay exposed all the time on the roof
- You will not be able to install it on the van roof
If you need a solar panel for van that you won’t need to install on the roof, you might love the Renogy Foldable 100 Watt panels. However, you might need a longer lead cable to get to your batteries.
2. Mono 50W Solar Panel Van Kit
As the name suggests, this is a 50-Watt Solar starter kit from Sunner Power. Therefore, this means that it comes with everything (apart from the battery) that you need to start harvesting the sun’s power. See the features to see what you will be getting for your money.
First, the kit comes with everything that you need to start enjoying off-grid power. For instance, it comes with a 50-Watt monocrystalline solar panel. In addition, there is a waterproof charge controller, battery clamps, cable kits, bare wire cord and battery rings. In addition, it has a comprehensive user manual, so it is pretty much plug-n-play stuff.
Second, Sunner Power uses choice of materials to make this solar kit. Therefore, durability is a good deal. For instance, the solar panel has an anodized aluminum frame. Therefore, it is corrosion-resistant. In addition, the solar panel is sealed all around so it is waterproof.
Third, when you charge your battery, you don’t need to keep on worrying about overload, surge or short-circuiting. In addition, the charge controller is also waterproof, so it can stay exposed without sustaining any damage.
The only disadvantage with this solar panel van kit is that it is not easy to know exactly how long it takes to charge the battery fully.
- Good for situations when you just want to install and forget about it
- Compatible with many types of installation brackets
- It is easy to extend the length of the solar panel’s cable
- Simple to install
- High-quality material for construction
- This is only 50 Watts, so you will probably not get moreover 40 Watts.
This is an easy to install solar panel for vans, RVs, boats and other installations. Additionally, it is a kit so you will get it with pretty much everything you need for its installation.
3. SOLPERK 50W Solar Panels for Van Roof
For an affordable amount of money, you can get this SOLPERK 50 Watt solar panel. In addition, you will find it suitable for RV, car or van installation. In addition, it is useful for boats and trailers. However, see its features before you make up your mind.
This is just about the safest solar panels that you can install on your camper van, boat, RV or any other off-grid living space. For instance, it comes with an advanced charge controller that protects the battery. In addition, this controller protects against overcharge, under-voltage, open circuit and overload protection and more.
The solar panel is perfect for outdoor use. For instance, it has an aluminum frame. Therefore, it is completely corrosion-resistant. In addition, the panel is rainproof and windproof. Therefore, you don’t have to take it down when it rains.
When we buy things to use outdoors, we worry about care and maintenance. However, like many solar panels, this one also needs no special maintenance. Therefore, just wipe it clean with a damp towel and it is good.
One disadvantage with this solar panel is that if the controller fails, the solar panel simply won’t work. In addition, contacting the company to purchase one can be hard.
- It comes with long cables so you can place it where you need
- The manual makes installation and usage simple even for beginners
- Good for charging RV camper van trailer batteries
- Charges fairly well even on overcast days
- LED indicators for when charging and when full
- This is not a fast charger so it will take longer to charge the battery fully
This is a no-frills solar panel for minivans that is easy to install and works as expected. With good care (which means no immersion in water), it can last a long time.
4. Renogy 50 Watt Camper Van Solar Panels
If you are looking for a flexible solar module for your boat or RV, the Renogy 50 Watt one might be your real deal. However, check out its features first.
This is a monocrystalline solar panel. Therefore, it charges batteries fast because it has a high conversion rate. Therefore, it can convert about 23% of the sunshine falling on the panel.
Because this is an extremely flexible solar panel, you might be able to install it even on the roof of yachts and boats. You can also install it on the roof of a camper van easily.
Another thing that you should love about this panel is that it is quite light in weight. In addition, it is made of polymer material. Therefore, it weighs much less than many other solar panels made with other materials.
The main disadvantage of this solar panel is that if anything arises, Renogy customer service is barely responsive. However, when you purchase from online marketplaces such as Amazon.com, you get a return policy of 30 days.
- Made with polymer materials for flexibility instead of tempered glass
- Easy to install on vehicle or boat roof
- High solar conversion rate
- It is the wind, water and snowproof
- The conversion rate may not be as claimed by Renogy
Renogy usually makes good products. In addition, you might opt for the 100, 150 or even 175-watt flexible solar panels for RV from the same company.
5. TP-solar 100W Solar Panel Van Kit
You can use this solar panel charger kit to charge your portable generator power station as long as it is compatible. In addition, this solar panel also gives you the flexibility to charge your iPhone and Galaxy devices as it also charges the solar station.
By design, this is like a collection of multiple solar panels, actually 12 of them with a fabric backing. Collectively, they are going to give you 100 Watts of power. In addition, the multiple folding points make them easy to stretch over the roof of your van.
This is a solar kit, so it comes with everything that you need to start harvesting the sun’s power. For instance, it comes with a Cig lighter plug, 10-in-1 DC connectors for DC, cable with alligator clips and many others. Therefore, you can do many things with this panel at the same time.
As a monocrystalline panel, it has a high conversion rate of up to 22 percent. The ETFE material further enhances the conversion rate. In addition, the finishing is high quality, scratch and abrasion-resistant thanks to the lamination technology used. On the same note, the back material is PVC fabric.
There are many good things to say about this panel. However, it also has its flipside. For instance, the wattage does not get even close to the advertised 100. It is more like 65.
- The manufacturer uses high-quality materials for the construction
- Excellent customer service
- Foldable and lightweight design makes this solar panel portable
- Keeps your campervan leisure battery fully charged and running all the time
- No idea how long it takes to charge the battery fully
This multiple panel package will help you harness a lot of power from the sun. In addition, it will keep your van’s deep cycle battery fully charged all the time to power your leisure when camping.
6. Dokio 100W Solar Panel Van Kit
Dokio has been in the market for many years now. In addition, they upgrade their renewable energy from time to time. In the same line, this 100-Watt solar panel kit is an upgrade of past versions. Therefore, keep reading to see whether it offers any extras.
First, we did mention that this solar panel is an upgrade. Therefore, it is best to explain what this upgrade has done. It has made the panel less reflective. As a result, it can absorb more sunlight, convert it to energy and store it in your battery.
By design, this is a folding solar panel for vans, RVs, boats, cars, tents and many other applications. In addition, you can even use it to illuminate your fishing adventure so that you can catch more fish. In addition, you can also use it for hunting.
One of the most important components of solar panels is the charge controller. Therefore, you will be happy that this one comes with one. In addition, it has more cables including one USB, a 10-foot cable with alligator clips and even an extra DIY cable.
The only disadvantage that you might experience with these solar panels is that after a year or so, the fabric parts start showing signs of UV degradation.
- Light in weight so it is easy to store, install and transport
- You can use the charge controller with 12V or 24V systems
- Comes with a good bag to pack your folded solar panels
- It will keep your RV, boat, camper van and other battery running things
- Check the cables carefully. Sometimes the black might be positive while red is the negative
For a 100-Watt camper van solar system, the price is a bit high. However, this panel promises durability so you will definitely get your money’s worth back.
7. PAXCESS 120W Solar Panel for Van
PAXCESS brings you the best solar panels for van conversion. In addition, this particular 120-Watt model is used widely for motorhome solar panels. Therefore, you can never go wrong with it. But first, let us see the features …
First, this is not one panel, but it is a combination of four of them. However, they are foldable such that the size reduces considerably. In addition, you will find that the foldability makes them flexible enough to install even on curved surfaces.
Second, these solar panels for campervans come with high quality, corrosion-resistant kickstands. Therefore, when set up, the solar panels adopt a good angle. Consequently, they are able to harness more sunshine. Research shows that propped panels collect more sunshine than those lying flat on their back.
Third, there are options to charge your laptop, smartphone, tablet and other devices directly from the panel. For instance, it has USB Type C and QC 3.0 that charge power banks, laptops, tablets and lamps at double the regular speed.
There are many more features. However, there are a few disadvantages to be wary of too. For instance, on cloudy days, the wattage is greatly affected, but this is a problem with all panels.
- Comes with more than enough DC connectors
- USB ports are a good addition
- It is light in weight so you can carry it easily
- The stand makes props at an angle making them capture more shine
- The price for this solar panel is quite steep
- The kickstand is not adjustable
If you choose this solar power van kit, you will spend almost double what other panels cost. However, the abundance of features, USB ports and DC connectors somehow justify the cost.
8. ECO-WORTHY 120W Solar Panels for Campers
When you go camping, you will want to keep the fridge in your camper van running to preserve your food and drinks. Therefore, you might need an Eco-Worthy solar panel. In addition, if you have a 100Ah battery, it will keep it charged without any trouble.
Since this is a foldable solar panel, it is so perfect for a camper van. For instance, it folds down to the compact size of a small briefcase. Therefore, this is a real space saver. In addition, installing it is so easy since you can just hang it in the back of your camper van.
When you do not want to hang the solar panel on the side of your RV, you can follow the sun and prop it up with the kickstand. In addition, it props at a good angle where it can capture more sunshine. On the same note, this is a monocrystalline panel, as you will no doubt tell from its blackish color. Therefore, it has a higher conversion rate.
If you have a solar station, this solar panel probably works with it. In addition, if you just want to charge your RV battery and keep it running all the time, this panel is ideal. At the same time, you will be happy to know that you can charge your devices as the panel charges the battery.
The only disadvantage that you might encounter with this solar camper panel is that the provided controller may prevent you from getting the full capacity. Therefore, you might have to upgrade the controller to get higher wattage.
- Comes with 10-in-1 various connectors for DC conversion
- The kickstand angle is adjustable
- Can give you a wattage of even more than 110 with the right controller
- The foldable design makes the solar panel easy to stow
- The conversion rate of 25% is too hyped up
The wide DC connectivity makes this a good choice for a person who wants relative luxury even when living a van life.
9. COOCHEER 120W Portable Solar Panel Charger
120 Watts is a lot of power and it is going to keep your RV, camper van fridge and other appliances running. While the COOCHEER is not a flexible solar panel, it is foldable and has a stand so you can prop it up the best way.
This is a black monocrystalline solar panel. Therefore, it offers more efficiency. However, the promised 25% conversion rate might not be true, but even 22% would be good. In addition, this panel is foldable by design. Therefore, you can fold it into a small, compact briefcase size.
In addition to using the hidden stand to prop it up, this panel also comes with carabiner clips. Therefore, you can hang it on the side of your van, or at the back. However, the best thing is to prop it up at an angle so that it captures the most sunshine.
You will also be happy with the multiple usage options that you will get with this solar panel. For instance, it comes with USB-C and USB-A Ports for charging. Therefore, you can charge your tablet or smartphone while the panel is still charging the battery or solar station.
Despite these features, this solar panel also comes with some disadvantages. For instance, the cables are too short, just a couple of feet. Therefore, you might have to buy longer cables.
- Many ports for multiple uses
- High-quality Oxford cloth at the back of the panels
- The foldable and lightweight design makes it easy to carry or store
- You can hang it with carabiner clips so that it charges while your van is traveling
- Gives enough power to run a few appliances in a camper van
- Short cables mean you don’t have a lot of flexibility when it comes to placement
Sometimes, it is better to get a panel that enables you to charge devices directly without the need for a power bank or sockets. This COOCHEER is one such panel. In addition, it has more benefits.
10. SunPower 50-Watt Flexible Van Solar Panel
The best thing about using flexible solar panels for campervans is that as their name suggests, they are bendable. However, this is a small degree bend, but it is very helpful all the same. You see, no camper van has a flat roof.
The SunPower van solar panel has a rating of 50 watts. Therefore, it will not get to exactly 50 watts, but perhaps it can do 45. Therefore, you can mostly use it for lighting your van quarters and charging your smartphones, tablets and other devices.
The bestselling feature of this solar panel is that it is flexible. Therefore, you can bend it slightly so that it conforms to the shape of the van roof. Therefore, unlike the other rigid solar panels, this becomes easier to install on a curved roof.
Once you have installed the panel on the roof of your camper van, you never need to remove it again. In addition, it is weatherproof, with a waterproof rating of IIP67 even for the micro junction box. This panel is going to withstand the abuse that comes from exposure.
Well, this seems like a good solar model to have on your van roof. However, its disadvantage is that it is only 50 Watts, which is barely enough for anything above lighting. Alternatively, you could always buy two or three panels.
- Customers in the USA get free shipping
- It is light in weight
- Can stay on the van roof if you will be a long time on the road
- Gives about 83% of the Wattage rating
- For a 50-Watt panel, the price is slightly higher than for most others
You might get the full value of your money with this solar panel. In addition, it works as advertised and with good care, it will last a long time.
Conclusion and Recommendation
If you have read this far, you are now ready to choose the best solar panels for campervans. Our recommendation is the Renogy 100 Watts foldable solar panel.
It is easy to stash away in any available space in your van. In addition, it is efficient and easy to use, using its kickstand or hanging it somewhere. On the same note, it comes with long lead cables and the price is not too bad.
Additionally, other camper solar panels that you might consider include the 50 Watt Renogy for low power needs, TP-solar and any other on this list.
Finally, these van life solar panels require minimal care and maintenance. For instance, for most of them, just wipe with a damp cloth and you are good to go.
If you have a van, it is not too late to invest in the best solar panels for the van.