How to get the most out of your caravan solar panels

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Solar panels are the best self-reliant power setup for your Caravan. It is an environmentally friendly alternative to power energy. Caravan solar panels are a one-time investment for your Caravan, which helps to keep your operational cost low all the year.

In addition, having solar panels installed for your Caravan decreases your dependency on the mains power, and you can keep your auxiliary batteries charged throughout your camping time. Solar panels’ efficiency depends on the adequate amount of sunlight it receives. Moreover, other factors like the type of solar panels, sun direction, weather conditions, and other solar accessories affect the electricity these panels produce.

However, if you want to get the best and maximum from your caravan solar panels, then a few things you need to follow are mentioned in the list below.

Serial connection of solar panels

The way you connect your caravan solar panels play a major role in the output they produce. If you connect the solar panels in series, it can raise the power supply by 20%. However, one thing to pay attention to when buying the solar panels for your Caravan, read the MPPT (Maximum power point tracking) regulator printed on the panels as they have high productivity.

One more thing to keep in mind is the panels you are connecting in series should be identical.

Make use of bigger batteries

Another effective way to increase the efficiency of your Caravan solar power is using bigger caravan batteries. However, if you are currently using small-sized batteries, you must notice that these get discharged quickly, and frequent discharging decreases their lifespan.

Most importantly, if solar power is the primary source for your Caravan, the wise decision is to get bigger batteries. This is because the bigger battery banks do not discharge even after the full day of usage. In addition, the bigger size batteries can last longer as compared to the smaller batteries.

Upgrade the regulators

One more way to enhance the output of the Caravan solar panels is upgrading your current regulator. The main two types of regulators are MPPT and PWM. The MPPT regulators are best at converting solar power energy into useful power energy, but these are expensive. Therefore, these are used in motorhomes, caravans, and bigger solar applications.

On the other hand, the PWM regulators are suitable for smaller camping applications, so they are comparatively less expensive.

Regular cleaning of the Solar panels

The Caravan solar panels are exposed to the external environment to collect dust, debris, and sap every time. So, if you ignore this dirt build-up on the solar panels, it may decrease the efficiency of the cells with time

On the other hand, if you take some time out to properly clean the solar panels, then the solar panels don’t miss out on the sunlight. Furthermore, use a smooth cotton cloth or microfiber rags, soft brush, some grease, and a sponge to clean the solar panels to avoid scratching on the surface of the panels. We assure you that you will be amazed to see the working efficiency of the Caravan solar panels after a deep cleaning!

Control voltage drops

Constant voltage drops can cause significant power loss. The main reason for voltage drop is resistance in the wiring, which interrupts the connection between the battery and the regulator.
Therefore, get high-quality and heavy wires to get the maximum from the solar power setup. One more helpful tip is placing your regulator close to the battery to reduce the wire length.

Direct sun radiations

The sun changes its positions throughout the day, so your solar panels cannot receive an equal amount of sunlight the whole day when kept in the same direction throughout the day. Therefore, to make sure solar panels get sufficient radiations, slight re-adjustments are important.

Moreover, solar panels cannot work efficiently if something obstructs the sunlight because if one solar cell does not receive the sunlight, other cells will not function properly. Therefore, if you see any dust or bird droppings on the panels, immediately remove them.

Furthermore, avoid placing the portable Caravan solar panels in the shade as they will slow down the operations. For example, if the panel receives one-third of shade, the output will decrease by more than 60%.

Get a solar focusing device

In harsh weather conditions like rain, storms, or a cloudy day, using a focusing device can help you collect the most sun rays on the solar sheets. In addition, the CPV helps produce more power from a smaller number of solar cells by focusing the sun’s rays at a smaller surface area. Moreover, various types of concentrating lenses are available for solar panels.

  • Fresnel lens – These lenses enhance the working of the multi-junction photovoltaic cell. These are thin and light as compared to the other lenses.
  • Luminescent concentrators – These work like a reflective film placed between the glass along with the cell. These allow the internal reflection to the central solar cell of the panel, increasing the efficiency.
  • Parabolic mirror – One parabolic mirror enters the light into the second mirror and then focuses back the same light to the solar cell.
  • Reflective coating – The reflective coatings also work by channeling sunlight in the center, which are placed on the sides of the solar cell.

Smart solar power setup

Another practical suggestion to track the accurate readings of the current passing to and from the batteries is investing in a super quality monitor. It also keeps track of the battery discharge. Moreover, it allows you to check which gadget is consuming more energy and makes it easy to turn off the gadget when not in use. This way, you can save energy for other appliances.

Final words

So, following the above tips and tricks, you can maximize the performance of your camping solar panels. So, get the best out of this renewable energy resource. And have an enjoyable and stress-free time camping the way you want!

Andy Sullivan

Andy Sullivan

A lover of all things outdoors, Andy is an experience camper having traveled the east cost of Australia multiple times and countless trips throughout New Zealand.

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