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If you work while being on the road, you know that electricity is a necessity to keep your computers and other devices running properly. Even if you just plan to spend a few quiet evenings off the grid, it’ll be extremely convenient to have power from a source that isn’t as noisy as a generator. And that solution is solar power.
Bet you’d be annoyed if you run out on the batteries during a long trip. For that limitless battery source and to be able to enjoy your trip to the best, you need to buy the best solar panel for your Van/RV, and that is definitely not a simple task. You need to spend the accurate amount of time and money in finding and installing a solar power system that suits all your needs and your Van lifestyle.
You might also be intimidated and think a hundred times before making this investment because it is definitely a costly one, but it will be worthy of all the struggle.
Once installed, it is one of the best eco-friendly, cleanest and a free source of energy. It is very efficient and can provide you with enough power to stay off the grid for weeks. It also has a very long lifespan as compared to other power sources. On top of it all, there is no pollution, no odor, and no noise.
Keeping in mind how much of a hassle it can be when you go around choosing which solar panel would you need for your Van or RV, we have a list of the 10 best solar panels to choose from to make your Vanlife easy and wonderful.
1. Renogy 100-watt 12- volt Mono-crystalline Solar Starter Kit
If you are new to all this solar stuff, Renogy isn’t going to disappoint you at all. The Renogy 100W Solar Power Starter Kit can definitely be your go-to thing. It’s perfect for all off the grid applications like RVs, trailers, boats, and even sheds, and cabins, so if you plan an adventure that’s adding more to just being on the road, you should start your adventure with this one.
The 100 watt is adequate enough to run a few devices simultaneously. This solar power starter kit comes with all the necessary things that you need to put up your new system: a Renogy 100W 12-volt Monocrystalline Solar Panel, a 30A PWM Wanderer Charge Controller, a 20ft 10AWG MC4 Adaptor Kit, an 8ft 10AWG Tray Cable, and a brand-new set of Z- brackets.
The charge controller has been upgraded and with this 30A PWM Charge Controller, you will be able to expand your system up to a maximum of 400W. the 8ft 10AWG Tray Cable will make it very feasible to connect your charge controller and battery. The Renogy 100W 12V solar panel gives an ideal output of 500Wh per day and can fully charge a 50Ah battery from 50% in just 3 hours, of course depending on the amount of available sunlight.
It has a negative grounding controller which ensures the broader off-grid applications and safety, especially when used on a vehicle that has battery negative on the chassis.
The Renogy 100W 12-volt Solar Power Starter Kit is a well built, high- quality product. All the Vanlifers who have used this product find the price, quality, fit and finish to be top-notch. It is very easy to set up and the instructions are decently and clearly written too. The product looks very clean. The. Brackets are very nicely made and are stamped with the Renogy logo, giving it a nice touch and the panel glass and aluminum are made cleanly making it not only be a high-quality product but even look like one.
You can use it to power almost anything to everything in your RV varying from a propane refrigerator to pumps and lights. Moreover, it is capable of supplying additional charging- you can wire it into a series together with other solar panels if need be.
The one and only downside that could be found in this highly efficient product is that is heavier than other flexible solar panels.
Impressively designed to withstand snow, wind and other harsh elements, it isn’t a surprise that this solar kit is one of the strongest in the market today.
2. HQST 100-Watt 12 Volt Polycrystalline Solar Panel
Some of the most reliable solar panels are produced by High-Quality Solar Technology (HQST) and the 100-Watt 12 Volt Polycrystalline Solar Panel is a must recommend.
The product weighs 15 pounds and is 35.6 x 26.9 x 1.18 in dimensions. The panel is waterproof and anti-reflective. It has high transparency and is a low iron-tempered glass which comes with enhanced stiffness and impact resistance. It can easily withstand high winds (2400Pa) and snow loads (5400Pa). The product features an IP65 rated junction box that provides full protection against all environmental particles and low-pressure water jets.
Whether you plan to take your RV around for a camping trip or a trip to the beach, this Polycrystalline Solar Panel provides you the best of efficiency. The HQST 100-watt 12 Volt Solar Panel has a high module conversion efficiency and gives an ideal output of 500Wh per day, varying with the availability of sunlight. Moreover, a wonderful feature that’ll come in handy with the product is that the bypass diodes minimize power drop that can be caused by shade, and thus it ensures a very amazing performance even in environments with low lights.
Another plus point of this product is, it has a very easy installation. You can install it off-grid on the rooftop of your RV mount in on the ground. The solar panel comes with pre-drilled holes on the back that allow you to mount and secure it even faster. Also, it is compatible with different types of mounting systems like Z- brackets, pole mounts and, tilt mounts.
If you’re seeking reliability, then HQST 100-Watt Solar Panel is your compatible option. It also works efficiently in heavy snow and wind loads. Even the back of the panel features a waterproof junction box and solar connect leads for easy plug and play use.
Not only this. It is also made from advanced encapsulation material with multilayered sheet laminations that help to enhance the cell performance and offer you a long life of utility and use. That’s still not all, for extended outdoor use the frame is made of corrosion-resistant aluminum which in turn allows the panels to last longer, even for decades.
3. Windy Nation 100-Watt Solar Panel Off-Grid Kit
If you are a beginner using solar energy then, the Windy Nation 100- Watt Solar panel Off-Grid Kit is something you might want to ponder at.
This solar panel is your budget-friendly source of power that you could efficiently use for your Van. Whether it’s an RV, a cabin, a boat, or even homes, the Windy Nation 100-Watt Solar Panel works in all environments and can be used has back up and remote power use too.
The kit provides you with an average of 350-Watt Hours (Wh) or 33 Amp hours of charge per day, depending on how much sunlight is available in your surroundings. You can also very easily add more solar panels to it in the future if need be.
The Windy Nation 100-Watt Solar Panel Off Grid RV Kit comes with a 100-Watt Windy Nation Solar Panel, a 30- Amp Windy Nation P30L LCD Display Solar Charge Controller with Battery Temperature Sensor (which is completely user adjustable), 40 feet of UL Listed 12 AWG Solar Cable, all necessary Connectors that can be used for wiring, solar panel mounting hardware like 4 Solar Panel Mounting Brackets and Fastener Sets and an Installation Manual.
The P30L charger that this product is equipped with is known among all Vanlifers for its quality and versatility. With this amazing controller, it becomes very easy for you to keep a proper track of amperage, the load draw, voltage, amp-hours, and even temperature while charging. The digital display gives very detail information. This controller can handle up to 4 pcs 100 W solar panels (12 Volt system) and 8 pcs 100W solar panels (24 Volt system).
Another thing to take in the notice is that this Windy Nation 100-Watt Solar Panel falls under the polycrystalline solar panel category, thus without any hassle, this pocket- friendly kit offers you up to 100 watts of clean, free and renewable power.
Although it comes with a downside too. There are no fuses that come with the kit. You must purchase separately to install at the positive cables of the charge controller, both incoming from the solar panels and outgoing to the batteries. Even with 10 AWG cables, you will see a small voltage drop if running cables longer than 20 feet. You can thus choose to go with 8 AWG which is the maximum diameter the charge controllers can handle.
Other than that, if you look at the product overall it is a great off-grid system to use for your RV. It is highly reliable and comes at a very affordable price while supplying all the basic things you need to harness energy at ease. And the opportunity to install additional panels just makes it better.
4. ACOPOWER 100-Watt Foldable Solar Panel Kit
ACOPower is an establishes company based in Los Angeles dedicated to providing off-grid and portable power solutions to all Vanlifers and they have been in the market for seven years now.
The ACOPOWER 100-Watt foldable solar panel kit is one great choice for your RV. Based on the monocrystalline solar panel technology, the kit comes along with two pieces of foldable 50W Grade A solar panels which are highly efficient and with a 10A charge controller. It can work as a battery ready kit or a generator ready kit or even both.
Each crystal panel that the kit comes equipped with offers you the highest efficiency, that is about 15.4% per space and even in low light environments gives excellent performance. You can also prevent system overcharge, over-discharge, overload and reverse connection with the pre-installed 10-amp solar charger controller that was mentioned above.
This highly capable solar panel kit also comes with MC-4 connectors that are able to charge 12V car or Marine batteries (sealed, GEL< or flooded), or even both at the same time. Alligator clips are provided for easy connection to the battery. Not only this, but it is also very feasible for you to connect an additional solar panel with a maximum power supply of 40mWatts which promotes ease in charging the battery very swiftly.
Another great feature that the ACOPOWER 100-Watt Foldable Solar Panel Kit comes equipped with is the portability and easy setup. It comes with pre-installed stands so the PV kit does not need any separate mounting brackets at all.
The product weighs 33.1lb and is 19.69 x 25.6 x 2.9 inches in dimensions. It also comes with a protective suitcase, thus making it easier for you to take it anywhere you want to and set it up in a minute. Its folding size comes out to be 19.9 x 27.2 x 2.8 inches and its thus a portable power supply.
Even the frame is made from corrosion-resistant aluminum giving it a solid and lightweight structure, perfect and completely suitable for outdoor use.
The features do not end here. This compact and budget-friendly product has been designed with a lot of details. It not only comes with 2 pairs of MC-4 connectors but also has corner protectors, one pair of Anderson plugs, junction box with diodes, handles latches and fuse.
ACOPOWER also provides a carrying bag/suitcase along with the kit for easy portability.
5. Renogy 12-volt, 200-Watt Mono-crystalline Solar Starter Kit
Here we are with Renogy again! Another really efficient solar power unit that you can choose from Renogy is the 12-volt 200-Watt Monocrystalline solar starter kit. If you are going to get into the world of solar panels for the first time, this kit has been designed especially for you.
The product weighs 37 pounds and is 47.3 x 21.3 x 1.4 inches in dimensions. This kit includes all the necessary tools that you will require to start a new system in your RV. You will be provided with two Renogy 100W 12 Volt Poly/Mono Solar Panels, one 30A PWM Wanderer Charge Controller, one 20ft 10AWG MC4 adaptor Kit, one 8ft 10 AWG Tray Cable, one set of MC4Y connectors and two sets of Z- brackets.
The Renogy 200W Monocrystalline Starter Kit is undoubtedly efficient in any kind of off-grid application that you can think of. It provides several benefits, including, but not limited to, quiet power production and grid independence. If you decide to embrace this small off-grid system, you can for sure have a greater level of independence, because you can charge each of your small but important electronic items without having to bear with the noisy generators or other electrical outlets.
Talking about the charge controller, this one here has been upgraded to Renogy’s new 30A PWM Negative-Ground charge controller, which is known as the Renogy Wanderer. Being a negative grounding controller means it provides protection against battery reversal, short circuit, overcharging, discharging, and even overloading. This ensures the product’s broader off-grid application, and safety too. With the Renogy wanderer 30A PWM charge controller, it is expected that you will be able to expand your solar system up to a maximum of 400 watts. It has an open-circuit voltage of 21.6V
This solar kit has an efficient and ideal output of 1000Wh per day and can fully charge a 50Ah battery from 50% in almost one and a half hours, but it depends and differs from the available sunlight in your environment.
Renogy 12-volt, 200-Watt Mono-crystalline Solar Starter Kit is efficient, reliable, intuitive, safe and expandable, which is pretty much what you need when you start adding a solar panel power system to your Vanlife.
By now, you definitely know why this product is efficient and safe, but do you know that it also comes with a TPT back sheet which ensures that the performance is smooth and is smooth over a long period of time. It also has a 4- staffed battery charging process for rapid, efficient, and safe battery charging. There are also pre-drilled holes on the back so that you can easily mount it.
The only thing that has been known that it lacks in is the installation instructions, but taking into consideration the fact that it is easy to install with all the tools already provided, this doesn’t turn out to be much of an issue.
6. ALLPOWERS 100-watt Solar Panel
Providing up to 23.5% efficiency, the ALLPOWERS 100-watt solar panel works much better than most of the monocrystalline panels that are available in the market giving an efficiency of 17%- 19%. This product has SunPower Solar Cell, which makes it more efficient. It is able to generate more power even when it isn’t bigger than any traditional model, which makes it even more amazing. It is also compatible with 18V and below batteries or devices.
This product will you give a very great level of satisfaction of your plan to choose it for your RV.
The durability and flexibility take the product to the next level of satisfaction. The Solar SunPower panel is made of water-resistant and semi-flexible material which makes it a heavy-duty product. it is far more durable as compared to the common glass and aluminum models. The junction box too is sealed and waterproof thus making it long-lasting even in bad weather conditions.
ALLPOWERS 100Watt Solar Panel comes with the bendable panel. You can curve the plastic back sheet to a maximum of a 30-degree arc which can be easily mounted on your RV. Not only is this flexibility limited to an RV,but it can also be used in boats, cabins, tents, cars, trucks, trailers and even any other irregular surface.
It is lightweight but powerful at the same time. Weighing merely 2.15 kilograms, this solar panel packs 100W of power, has 32 SunPower solar cells that are able to capture more sunlight as compared to the conventional solar panels. The panel weighs 70% less than its standard counterpart and is less than 5% thick, thus offering all you Vanlifers with ease in transportation, storage, and installation.
Making the installation easier, it is uniquely designed as a frameless product has been pre-drilled with holes on the panels so that mounting and securing the panel is as simple as possible. In case you are looking for more convenience and cheaper options when it comes to installing and mounting the panel, it can be affixed with adhesive, grommets, zip ties or Velcro too.
One thing that you need to keep in mind if you decide to purchase and use this product is to carefully handle the solar panel. It is flexible but if you over-bend it that might result in the damage of the panel.
It is also equipped with short circuit and surge protection technology that will keep you, your devices and your Van completely safe.
This solar panel does not come along with the other necessary tools required to set up the system so do not forget to buy a solar charger controller, a portable power station and an MC4 cable along with it.
It does include the instruction manual and the 18-month guarantee. If you ever need help with installation or have any other related questions, ALLPOWER’s customer service is very friendly.
7. Newopowa 2 Piece 100-Watt Polycrystalline Photovoltaic PV Solar Panel Module
Newopowa’s goal is to provide its customers with quality solar products at reasonable prices, and it definitely stands firm on what it says. The newopowa 2-piece 100 watt polycrystalline photovoltaic PV solar panel module is an excellent performance product in the market.
It has been newly designed smaller in size, with the same output and also is equipped with higher cell efficiency as compared to most of the other brands. These high- efficiency cells are encapsulated in ethylene-vinyl-acetate (EVA) and are placed between the highly transparent low iron tempered glass and a very durable Tedlar-polyester-Tedlar (TPT) back sheet.
Weighing 19.62 pounds, this solar panel is 35.8 x 26.6 x 2.4 inches in dimension.
The solar panel has heavy-duty durability and it can work with the same efficiency even in high winds (2400PA) and snow loads(5400PA). in addition to it, the frames around the panels are made of very strong anodized aluminum, which further gives amazing rigidity to the panel.
It comes with pre-installed diodes in the junction box and a pair of pre-attached 3ft MC4 is a part of the package too. Also, the best part is that at a budget price, it comes in full size too. With this feature, you can let go of worrying about the heavy application of the solar panel. The instruction manual that is provided along is quite simple to understand as well.
The Newopowa 2-piece 100W polycrystalline photovoltaic PV solar panel is a very pleasing and promising product for all Vanlifers and it might even exceed your expectations. On top of it all, it comes with 2-year limited materials and workmanship warranty, 10 year/90 percent power output warranty,25 years/ 80 percent power output warranty.
The only thing that you might want to take into account when you use this product is to make sure that not even one out of 72 cells has a shadow or a leaf on it because it would probably cut your total power output. All in all, it is highly doubtful that if you chose to use this solar panel for you Vanlife, you’ll regret.
8. Go Power! GP-PSK-130 130-Watt Solar Kit
Go Power!’s GP-PSK-130, a 130-Watt portable solar kit offers one of the best and most versatile battery charging options in very convenient ways. It is best for all vanlifers who are not in a mood to permanently have a solar panel mounted to the rooftop of the van or are anting to supplement a rooftop system.
It is the quickest and easiest way to keep all your batteries charge using solar power while you’re on the road. The Go Power! The solar kit is a very popular choice among vanlifers.
It comes with the Anderson- style battery charging connectors which will allow you to quickly interchange the charging accessory so that it suits all your needs in the best possible way. Your needs could vary from maintaining your Van or your trailer battery while you are on an adventure to be able to trickle charging your car, or even ATV and boats.
This product weighs 28.7 pounds and has monocrystalline solar cells. It has an output power of 130 Watt and has an open circuit voltage of 23.8V. With this amount of power, you can easily charge your batteries during the day. This folding solar module thus offers very versatile and efficient charging.
The ease of setting it up makes it a good option to choose too. You can set it up in minutes. All you have to do is simply unfold it and connect the battery clamps to the battery.
Go power! The 130-Watt portable solar kit offers rugged durability, and the company guarantees good solar power generation, wherever you go. It’s so convenient to use that you can literally park in the shade while your kit can sit in the sun to charge your batteries.
The solar kit also comes with a built-in PWM solar controller that helps in preventing your batteries from overcharging. It is also completely maintenance-free and folds easily into a carrying case for easy transport. Not only there is easy storage but it is equipped with adjustable folding legs that maximize solar exposure and also helps in compact and easy storage.
Offering multiple charging connectivity options, this product also includes a heavy-duty nylon case for easy and good storage protection. All in all, you get a hold of a 10-amp charge controller, battery clamps, quick connectors, ring terminal connector, SAE solar plug adaptor, XLR- style solar plug adapter, 12’ of UV 12/2 cable, and a heavy-duty nylon storage case along with the Portable Solar Kit, which is definitely worth considering option.
However, despite its excellent performance, some Vanlifers find it a bit expensive as compared to other products in the market, but remember buying a solar panel is a one-time investment, so plan accordingly.
9. Renogy 12- Volt 100-watt Flexible Monocrystalline Solar Panel
This time, Renogy has offered an ultra-lightweight and ultra-thin solar panel, which works on monocrystalline solar panel technology. Most of the time you might have seen that traditional solar panels turn out to be rigid and often enclosed in tempered glass, and the Renogy 100-Watt Flexible Solar panel is anything but traditional.
Perfect for Vanlife use, the Renogy 100W is perfectly capable of flexing up to 248 degrees. This makes it apt for handling in a lot of different applications and specifically in conditions when the standard solar panels are neither easy nor convenient to mount. It functions amazingly in RV’s, boats, roofs, and all the uneven surfaces as well.
Weighing at just 4 pounds, it is very easy to install. All the credit of it being so lightweight goes to the advanced polymer materials that the product is made out of. This flexible solar panel weighs almost 70% less than other conventional solar panels that are available and popular in the market. In fact, it weighs only a quarter of its traditional 100W counterpart. Thus, installation and transportation are made a breeze.
The Renogy 100W 12V solar panel also offers super thin lamination. You can hardly notice the lamination and when the panel is laid flat, it is only a tenth on an inch tall, which is 95% thinner as compares to its rigid counterpart. So, if you want a stealthy solar setup for your Vanlife, this product could be in your cart!
Due to the presence of ETFE material, the product has higher light transmittance and even has a longer service life. it also comes with anti-fouling and self-cleaning abilities that ensure the best performance day after day, furthermore making it a very good option for you.
The sleek design makes Renogy 100 W flexible solar panel, a very pleasing product. You can use it to supply power to a wide range of applications and onboard electronics. For instance, you can use to provide power on a boat or even a teardrop trailer.
The product has been rigorously tested, assuring that the 100W has been designed in a manner that will be able to withstand against all odds of nature like winds up to 2400 pa and snow loads of up to 5400 pa. The Renogy 100 watts 12-volt flexible solar panel has a maximum system voltage of 600Dc and operates on an optimum voltage of 18.9 V at 5.29A of optimum current.
Another notable feature that it comes equipped with is the IP 68 junction box. The junction box is totally waterproof and completely suitable for outdoor use. All the key features: extreme flexibility, lightweight, super-thin lamination, and high durability make it a product of worth.
The only complaint that has ever been heard about this product is the edges of the solar panel might be a bit sharp, thus just be a little careful while handling them. Other than that, the Renogy 12-volt 100-Watt Flexible Monocrystalline solar panel, would definitely not disappoint you.
10. Renogy 200-Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Solar RV and Off-Grid Kit
Looking for all the comforts of home even when you’re on the road? The Renogy 200-watt 12-volt monocrystalline Solar RV and the off-grid kit are any vanlifers perfect choice.
This product is specially designed for all off-grid solar panel systems with a monocrystalline efficiency of 21%. A very prominent feature that this solar panel offers is that unlike all the traditional gas generators, the Renogy 200watt 12-volt solar RV kit recharges your batteries silently. No additional noise, one less stress.
The panel frame is made of corrosion-resistant aluminum so it can be used outside for an extended period of time. It allows the panels to last for decades. This product too is able to withstand high winds (2400PA) and snow loads (5400PA).
The Renogy 200-Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Solar RV and Off-grid Kit comes with the adventurer 30A PWM flush mount charge controller that can charge the battery quickly and safely under any condition. This controller according to Renogy is specifically designed for RV applications as it allows for aesthetically clean flush mounting on walls and is negative-grounded for battery compatibility
It is also equipped with an LCD screen that displays system operating information and gives you full control of parameter settings. The control is embedded with self-diagnostics and electronic protection functions that prevent damage from installation mistakes or system faults.
If you plan to buy this amazing solar kit you will also find inside, one 30ft 10AWG MC4 adaptor kit, one 16ft 10AWG tray cable, one pair of branch connectors, a BT- 1 Bluetooth module and one Renogy cable entry housing.
The BT-1 is capable of connecting Renogy charge controllers. It can be used to pair charge controllers with the help of Renogy’s remote monitoring app called Renogy BT. With the help of that, you can monitor and parameter changes directly through your phone.
With this conveniently designed solar panel, you can operate your onboard electronics and equipment without the need for a power hookup.
By now you might definitely be aware that having a solar panel of a solar kit will make your Vanlife much easier and convenient. Buying the one you think is suitable for you in every way will ensure that you never run out of power while you are on the road. While you chose, there are some things that you should be considered before finalizing your decision.
The first being taking into consideration the efficiency of the product. Do not forget that Vans are always less spacious as homes, so you might want to go for a product that will not use up a lot of space, and still be able to maximize the output. Before buying, make sure that the electrical output is good enough to charge all the equipment you need on your RV.
Another factor to consider before making the purchase is portability. You will always need to move the solar panel to your van from time to time, so look for the most portable one.
Durability is another important factor that will contribute to your decision-making process. Try not going for cheap and not so good quality options, because they might not be durable, and while you’re on the road, you need something that will last for a longer time and with its high productivity will save you lots of money in the future.
Also remember, that there are different types of solar panels, so make sure that you understand how different types work in what way will they be good or bad for you. Most of the solar panels do not require and troublesome maintenance, but before you choose one for yourself, be sure to know about how to take care of that specific product.
It is definitely an expensive purchase, but it is also the one that is very cost-effective in the long term. And one thing that you can be sure of is that as soon as you install a solar panel in your RV, you will be another step nearer to fulfill your ideal Vanlife.
We hope you enjoyed this piece on solar panels and that it’s made your job of picking a power source for your van that much easier! As always if you see a product that’s missing from our list feel free to drop a comment and we’ll be sure to take a look and perhaps even update our list!
Discover How To Use The Power of Authority Marketing To Make You Money While You Adventure!
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DO YOU BELIEVE ADVENTURES ARE WORTH CHASING?