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Tips for Choosing a Solar Panel for a Caravan

by Emilia Latvala

Using a solar panel for a caravan can mean not worrying about finding a campsite with proper electrical hookup and not worrying about how much electricity your generator can produce while on holiday. It also means a more eco-friendly way of camping and vacationing. Because there are so many different types of solar panels available for caravans, you might note a few tips for choosing the best one for your needs. This will ensure you don't invest in something that doesn't fit your caravan or camping needs, while still getting all the solar power you want.

Portable versus permanent fixtures

Some solar panels are meant to be permanently affixed to the caravan's roof, and you might see the benefit of this type of model; you don't need to find a spot in your campsite for the panel, hook it up to your leisure battery, and the like. However, note also that solar panels work best when in direct sunlight for as long as possible. A panel on the roof of your caravan would mean that your caravan needs to be parked in the sunlight during the day. Do you normally holiday in campgrounds in the forest, or do you prefer to stay in the shade for your own comfort? In those cases, a portable panel that you can move around to a sunny part of your campground can be the better option.


The size of a solar panel doesn't necessarily determine the amount of power it collects and stores. You need to consider the storage capacity of the panel in terms of watts and compare this to the electrical appliances you'll be running.

When choosing a size of panel, you also need to realize that a solar panel's power collection is compromised when behind glass or plastic of any sort. Don't assume you can get a small, manageable portable unit and put it on a table in your caravan, facing a window, and get full power from it. If you're not comfortable hooking up a portable panel on the campground itself, choose one that affixes to your roof rather than thinking you can keep it inside the caravan.

Built-in panels

Many appliances used in caravans today have solar panels built in, but note that these too need to be in full sunlight for the most power collection. If you tend to leave your caravan and go sightseeing or elsewhere during your holiday, are you comfortable leaving your gadget outside in full sunlight? Be sure you've considered where and how you'll place those gadgets for them to collect the solar power they need.