Benefits of Solar Panels
Solar panels are a great option for quiet, clean and free energy while caravanning or camping. With the right set up, you can travel just about anywhere without having to sacrifice life’s little luxuries like a fridge, LED lights and mobile devices. Also, swapping out a noisy generator for a solar system means less noise and pollution disrupting the peace and quiet you set out to enjoy on your trip.
Which ones do I need?
There are a number of different types of solar panels available for camping and caravanning. The size, type and number of panels you will need will depend on how you are planning on using the power you generate.
Different Types of Panels
There are three main types of solar cells that are used in today’s solar panels. Mono-crystalline, poly-crystalline, and thin film amorphous. Mono-crystalline panels are more expensive and work best in direct sunlight. Poly-crystalline panels are slightly less efficient than mono-crystalline panels but may function more efficiently in low-light conditions. Amorphous cells are made from thin, flexible film panels and require a larger surface area than traditional panels. The greatest advantage of the Amorphous cells is their ability to be rolled or folded in the form of solar blankets. This also allows for more compact storage.
Fixed vs Portable
Fixed solar panels can be fitted to the top of most caravans, trailers or 4WDs which means you can generate energy as you travel. The downside of fixed panels is you may not always be able to position your caravan, trailer or vehicle in direct sunlight. This could reduce the amount of power that is generated from the panels.
With portable panels, this is less of an issue as the panels can be repositioned in the sun as it moves throughout the day. This allows for maximum power to be generated from the solar panels, though it will add some extra time to your set up and pack down. A folding solar blanket or compact thin film panel is usually the best option to save space for campers or those short on storage space.
What size and how many?
How much power you need from your solar set up will depend on how you plan to use the power generated from your panels. Before power for and work out how much power they will use in a day. To do this, take the total number of amps your devices will use per hour and multiply it by the number of hours you will use them each day.
Correctly calculating the size and number of panels you will need is one of the most vital and most technical parts of the selection process. If you need assistance calculating what you will require from your solar set up feel free to give our team a call for some advice. This online calculator from Redarc may also be helpful: Redarc Solar Calculator
How to get the most from your Solar power.
- Solar power setups work best with low energy devices such as fridges, LED lights, air compressors and inverters.
- Avoid using the inverter to power energy-intensive appliances such as heaters or hair dryers. These will quickly drain the power you have stored in your battery.
- Camping and caravanning solar panels receive a lot more abuse when out and about. Make sure the panels you choose are made from sturdy materials. Also, ensure they can be stored easily when not in use and come with a well-designed carry bag.
- Keep your panels free of dust which can obstruct sunlight and detract from performance. To clean your panels, wipe them down regularly with a micro fibre cloth as using a more abrasive material may damage the panels.
We can help customise your solar 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 17 Trinder Avenue, Maroochydore QLD