Do I need a Solar Panel, Generator or both for my Caravan?
The answer will depend on your needs.
The biggest difference between solar panels and a generator is the power output.
Solar panels will consistently charge your 12v battery. When used with an inverter, solar panels will also be able to power low-wattage appliances such as TV’s, mobiles and laptops. The consistent output from solar panels means there is no drain placed on the vehicle’s starter battery.
Generators are the most practical way to have enough power to run very high-wattage appliances. It will supply 240v power allowing you to run appliances like the air conditioner and microwave oven. If you must have air conditioning when not plugged at a powered site, you will need to use a generator.
|Virtually maintenance free.||Only charges/powers low wattage appliances.|
|Quiet – No noise.||Power is dependent on weather.|
|Environmentally friendly – No fumes.||Power restricted by size of panels.|
|Can be cheaper than generator.||Susceptible to damage|
|Continuous & reliable power.||Noisy|
|Power not dependent on weather.||Produces fumes – Not Environmentally friendly.|
|Most practical for high wattage appliances||Requires regular services and maintenance.|
|User friendly||Can’t be used in most national parks in Australia.|
|Requires fuel to run.|
Solar is essentially a battery charger. So if extending your time at camp is your primary focus, they’re the preferred option. Generators provide significant amounts of power in a short period. While solar provides a steady charge and have the best chance of getting your batteries up to 100%.
Some caravanners like to have the flexibility of both solar and a generator and will use both. This is an especially good option for those who like to spend large amounts of time “off-grid.”
The best advice is to have a serious think about the absolute necessary appliances you want to take camping. Consider their power usage (watts – this should be on the label of the appliance) and estimate how long you expect to be using them each day.
An auto electrician will also be a great source to talk with. We can help customise your power solutions to your needs and all within your budget requirements.
Call us today 1300 CAR ELEC (1300 227 353) or pop into our workshop at 17 Trinder Avenue, Maroochydore QLD 4558.