Are you about to install a photovoltaic panel on your camper van? Or are you going to buy a motorhome to Solar Panel Lahore and are inquiring about its installation.
No problem; we explain all the steps for mounting your motorhome solar panel and have a self-sufficient installation in a few lines!
During your travels, every day you need to consume energy for your electrical appliances: lights, water pump, refrigerator, mobile phone… It is now possible to be autonomous without stopping at a campsite or village to recharge your auxiliary battery in the evening.
In recent years, the solar panel has become essential equipment in motorhomes and vans. Their ever-increasing performance and increasingly affordable price make them an electrical accessory now within reach of all budgets. There are also solar panel kits with a regulator that allows quick installation without asking questions!
In this file, we explain to you:
- How to install a rigid or flexible solar panel?
- Series or parallel connection to add a meeting to your installation
- Size your regulator
Before starting, here is a little theoretical reminder on how a solar panel works…
Motorhome Solar Panel
Photovoltaic or solar panel for motorhome: how does it work?
Photovoltaic electricity is a technology that converts light radiation from the sun (UV rays) into electricity. A solar panel is therefore made up of a set of photovoltaic cells generating an electric current to recharge our auxiliary battery banks!
Solar panels’ yield has risen sharply over the past ten years, and their production is far from negligible. It becomes easy to cover 12V electricity consumption in a fitted van or motorhome!
When does a solar panel produce energy?
A solar panel must be exposed to the sun to produce electricity; so far, nothing abnormal! However, a few conditions must be met to get the most out of this production. The solar panel should be exposed to full sun for maximum performance, with the latter at the highest level. The weather must be clear and free of any clouds because the slightest cloudy passage can drastically drop the voltage and, therefore, your electricity production. Also, the photovoltaic panel must not be shaded, even partially. Avoid parking your van or fitted-out van under a tree, and not installing the forum under a roof rack.
Installing a Solar Panel
A rigid panel:
The first step was fixing your panel on the roof of the vehicle. To do this, it is, above all, necessary to roughen the panel’s surface with sandpaper and thoroughly degrease it, with acetone, for example. Then, glue the solar panel with a suitable mastic, and Sika 221 can do the trick very well. The rigid panels will be glued under the angles.
A flexible panel:
For the hoses, there is no need to empty an entire cartridge of sealant to fix the panel gluing, make “studs” at the corners (about 10 mm high) and in the middle of the meeting. These studs will absorb the vehicle’s vibrations and the panel’s expansion during high temperatures.
Then, connect with the cables, the regulator to the battery, then the regulator to the panel, respecting the polarities. And voila! Remember the installation of fuses (one before and one after the charge regulator).
If you have yet to opt for the solar kit and need to choose your PWM or MPPT regulator for your autonomous motorhome installation, discover our advice in our file on How to select your motorhome solar panel and its regulator!
Install your solar panel on a motorhome or van
And if I need to add a photovoltaic panel, what happens?
If necessary, you can add one or more solar panels for two reasons :
- Increase the power of your fleet to gain autonomy
- Parcel the park for congestion problems.
For example, if you want to install 100 W but do not have enough space, you can choose to install 2 x 50 W. When you connect several panels, you can make two types of connections:
In series, the + and – of the panels are connected. Doing this adds to the voltages, and the intensity does not change. Care must be taken to install a solar regulator downstream that can accept this input voltage. This type of mounting is particularly suitable for panels that are not identical. The production will be significantly reduced during partial shading but less with a parallel connection.
series connection of solar panels
In this type of assembly, it is a question of connecting the – between them and the + of the panels together using the Y MC4 connector. The intensity will then be added, and the voltage will remain identical to the origin. It is essential to install two strictly similar photovoltaic panels for this installation. The advantage lies in the fact that the voltage does not rise. Choosing a regulator with a higher input voltage is not necessarily mandatory. Attention, in case of partial shade of one of the panels, all the production will tend to fall.
parallel connection of solar panels
The MPPT controller
If you have chosen an MPPT controller for your installation, it must be sized correctly. There are two things to consider for this:
Input voltage in V (volt)
The input voltage can vary from 18 V to 150 V or even more! To do this, refer to the nominal voltage of your panel, and if they are in series, add it up, easy!
Example: You have two 100W panels connected in series with a nominal voltage of 23 V each. The solar park will therefore offer 46 V at the output, requiring a regulator to accept at least 46 V at the input.
Output current in A (ampere)
There too, nothing complicated! This is the output current that the regulator can deliver to the battery. Divide the power of your solar park by the charging voltage of the battery pack to obtain an intensity value.
Example: You have a 200 W solar panel for a 12V 130 Ah battery. The battery charges at approximately 14.4V. So, 200W / 14.4 V = 13.8 A. So here, you will need a regulator that can output 13.8 amps.
regulator for fitted van solar panel
You are now ready to install your sunlife panel on your converted truck or motorhome and be self-sufficient during your excursions!
Recommended Article: Solar PV for Residential and Commercial Applications