One of the problems which we often face while using our caravan is the dearth of electricity to power TVs, refrigerators and other appliances which need the power to work. If we plan to use fuel for these, then, too much fuel would be required and that’s why this idea is usually discouraged. Also, it creates a lot of noise which can be quite annoying.
But, what, if I tell you that you can power all these equipment even without the fuel and noise. Well, you can leverage the renewable solar energy by installing solar panels on your caravans.
The solar panels keep on absorbing the energy from the sun and store it for use in the future.
Benefits Of Using Solar Power
There are a plethora of benefits of using solar power, especially, when you are in your caravan away from the city. First of all, it is a renewable source of energy, and thus, you are not harming the environment or nature by utilizing solar power.
Secondly, it offers an unlimited supply of energy (on sunny days), so, you don’t have to worry about fuel running out.
Moreover, it’s an eco-friendly source of energy, so, you don’t contribute to global warming or any other natural phenomena that can damage the ecological balance of nature.
Solar power generators work silently and have zero-emission. So, there’s no noise or air pollution.
Finally, it’s economical as compared to other sources of electricity in the long run.
How Solar Panels Function?
The solar panels are equipped with the photovoltaic solar cells, which get activated as soon as the sunlight hits them, Upon activation, these cells start absorbing the solar energy, which is then converted into electricity. This electricity is then, stored as the solar charge in the batteries. However, this electricity is in DC form, and you would require an inverter that can convert AC to DC to power your AC appliances in the caravan.
Furthermore, the batteries may get overcharged, and thus, a power regulator is required to prevent it.
How To Choose The Best Solar Panel For Your Caravan?
There are a few vital points that you need to mull over before choosing a solar panel. A solar panel is a costly investment and once installed, it runs for many years, and that’s why it’s important to take the right decision.
Here are the top points which you need to consider before investing in a solar panel:
Maximum Exposure To Sunlight
In order to generate a higher amount of electricity, solar panels need as much exposure to light as possible. The solar panels which use the crystalline panel can deliver much higher output even with the slightest shadow. Thus, choose the panels which can have the maximum exposure to sunlight.
Battery Need Consideration
In order to deliver the optimum output, the solar panels need to be connected with a good battery. So, choose the best battery for your solar panel, and ensure that you charge the batteries as soon as they get below 50%.
Use Apt Sized Wires and Cables
In order to minimize the voltage drop, it’s important to use the right size of cables and wires. These must be of the right size and length. Typically, the thicker and shorter the wire is, the better it regulates the voltage drop.
Consult Your Local Caravan Dealer
After installing the solar panel to the caravan, you need to connect the leisure battery, for which you should consult your local dealer. Though, you might find connections quite easy to do, but, often there are some specific procedures that need to be followed.
Also, the caravan dealers are aware of the specifics related to connecting a solar panel through unique adapters made exclusively for the caravan. Also, before purchasing a solar panel, you can consult your caravan dealer to find out the perfect solar panel for you.
How To Install the Solar Panels?
Though, installing a solar panel on your caravan is not difficult, but, you need a caravan that has been pre-wired by a solar panel, professional so that you can utilize the energy produced by the solar panel.
Once the caravan has been pre-wired, you can follow the below-given steps to install the solar panels:
- Selecting The Solar Panel and Finalizing The Number
There are different types of solar panels available in the market, including mono-crystalline solar panels, polycrystalline solar panels, amorphous which are also known as the semi-flexible panels. You can choose the one that ideally fits in your requisites and budget.
Once you select the type of solar panel, the next thing that you need to determine is how many solar panels would you be requiring. This completely depends on the number of appliances which you would be using in the caravan, the number of hours each appliance would be running, and how many days you want to stay in the caravan. Depending on all these factors, you can get a rough estimate of how much power would you be requiring every day, and on the basis of this information, you can evaluate that how many solar panels would be required.
- Determining the Things You Would Require Apart from The Solar Panel
If you are planning to do the installation on your own, you would need some material like the solar regulator, batteries, and an inverter that can convert the DC into AC.
- Connecting The Solar System Into Your Caravan
Once you have decided that where you want to fix the solar panels, drill the holes and screw the mounting panel. Use a glue that is ideal for the purpose and mount the solar panels on the bracket. Use a wire connector for joining the solar panel with the caravan wiring. Connect positive to positive, and negative to negative.
- Connecting The Batteries To The Solar System
Connect the solar system with the batteries in a parallel configuration.
- Connect The Solar Regulator
Place the solar regulator near your batteries. Most of the regulators come equipped with three sets of wires which need to be connected with the solar panel connection, caravan load, and the positive & the negative terminal of one battery which is further connected to the other batteries.
Cross-check all the connections and ensure that you have plugged everything in the right place.