When it comes to sizing up the things that you need for a system that will work well for you, sadly there is no standard set-up, there is no ‘one size fits all’, almost everyone is going to have different needs, and will operate their camping in different ways.
Working out what Power you need is a lot simpler than most people make out.
Start with the basics….
Firstly, understanding your lifestyle with the Caravan. Work out how much time is going to be spent off the grid, and then you can start working out what sort of Solar you will need.
Understanding what your consumption is when you are on 12V is the next thing. Most caravan appliances will have the usage amount noted with them, which you can simply add up in an excel spreadsheet and use multiples of hours to see how much power you will be using. This will give you a per day usage, giving you a great indication of what you need to put back into the batteries.
You then need to understand what solar panels are required. A simple calculation for what a panel outputs, is, divide its watts by 17.3, this will give you the average amps per hour that the panel will produce in peak solar hours, which is between 10am and 3.30pm in the day.
You also need to think about Regulators, PWM or MPPT. The MPPT is better and tends to be a little bit more expensive, however will certainly get the best out of your panels.
And most importantly keep the panels clean. Solar panels should be cleaned periodically as any dirt and grime blocking sunlight from the panels will ultimately reduce the output.
The best tip we can give you is, take the time to work out your power load requirements. And when doing so, don’t be too thrifty in your calculations, although you can always easily add to your system later if required.
Listen to the live interview
Tune in to Sunshine FM every Friday from 4:45pm to listen to our weekly advice column.