If you're a caravan owner, then you may be considering having solar panels installed to provide electricity inside your van. Solar power for caravans is becoming increasingly popular, and also increasingly more affordable as the market continues to grow and innovate.
For people who want to use their caravan in remote or bush locations without access to regular power, solar is the perfect solution. Even if you generally stay in caravan parks with powered sites, with solar you can opt for un-powered sites which are generally cheaper to hire. If you're considering solar for your caravan, here are three common questions you might be asking before you buy.
1. Was my caravan pre-wired for solar when it was built?
Most modern caravans will include pre-wiring for solar as a standard feature. This is because installing the wiring is far easier during the building process when the frame of the caravan is bare and accessible than retro-fitting wiring. If your caravan is an old model or you bought it second-hand, it may not be pre-wired.
Although pre-wiring will make it easier to install solar on your caravan, it is still possible to retro-fit the required wiring. This can be done by the auto-service business that installs your solar and will simply cost you a little more for labour and parts.
2. What size of solar system do I need for my caravan?
There are many different sized solar systems designed for use on caravans, and which one is right for you depends largely on a few different factors. These factors include how many berths your caravan has, what appliances you will need to run, and whether there will be occasions when your solar is your only power option, such as during outback trips.
Also, consider what sort of climate you'll be mostly using your caravan in. In a very cold or very warm climate, running heating or cooling systems will require more electricity than you would need in a more moderate climate. To choose the perfect size, it's certainly worth consulting with a solar industry professional who can help you ascertain exactly what your electricity needs will be and what system will adequately meet those needs.
3. Do I really need a battery for my solar system?
Simply put, yes you do. A solar system without a good quality battery isn't going to give you reliable electricity throughout the day and night. The solar panels themselves will supply you with constant electricity on the proviso that the sun is shining. However, if it's an overcast day or night time, you won't have enough power to even run basic appliances.
A battery for your solar system allows you to store the energy harnessed from the sun throughout the day and use it during times when the sun isn't shining. Modern solar batteries are streamlined, long lasting, and able to store an increasing amount of electricity for your use.
Like the housing industry, caravanning enthusiasts in Australia are embracing the idea of clean, sustainable, and cost-effective energy. If this sounds appealing to you, then you should book your caravan into your local auto service centre to have a solar system installed.