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Best Solar Panels for a DIY Camper Van

Best Solar Panels for a DIY Camper Van

There are 1000’s of different brands and types of solar panels on the market and this list will show you some of the best and most commonly used solar panels that have time-over-time shown good results and durability for installation in mobile applications like camper vans, RVs, truck campers, 5th wheels, and bumper pull campers. These solar panels are mostly similar in quality but vary a bit in size and wattage per square foot. Take a look at the chart and info below to find the solar panel that will best meet the needs of your DIY camper van electrical build.

DIY Camper Van Solar Panels Cheatsheet

The table below shows many different options for camper solar panels with several different important data points for determining which solar panel is right for your setup. Click any of the headings to sort the table by that column and be sure to scroll/swipe left and right to see more values.

BrandWattageLinkLength (in)Width (in)Watts/sqftOpen Circuit VoltageShort Circuit Current
NewPowa5023.0719.8815.7020.233.12
Renogy5023.7019.6015.5021.83.1
NewPowa10044.4919.8816.2921.66.25
Renogy10042.2019.6017.4121.66.24
Renogy10040.9021.0016.7721.26.1
Rich Solar10046.7020.1015.3522.85.78
NewPowa18058.3526.5716.7219.8411.75
NewPowa20064.5726.5716.7920.2312.45
Rich Solar20058.7026.8018.3124.310.2
Renogy30064.7539.0617.0938.89.71
Renogy32065.6039.5017.7940.110.08

Options for DIY Camper Van Solar Panels:


John Guinasso

Saturday 23rd of October 2021

Your teaching technique is commendable, and the content delivery is well done. As many in this forum have already said, you do a great job of delivering complex subject matter in an understandable manner. You have created, in a previous session, a Solar Charger Controller Calculator which works great. Might you have (or would you consider creating the same type of calculator for wiring size, length, amps, volts, fuse size. It would really help those of us that have difficulty figuring out those piece of the design. Thanks and I hope you will consider creating it if it doesn't already exist.

Nate Yarbrough

Wednesday 1st of December 2021

Sure! Already available: https://www.explorist.life/wire-sizing-calculator/

Kirk Brackebusch

Thursday 7th of October 2021

What about the rich solar CIGS panels. Since my boat is...weight sensitive and will not have a generator - cost is less of an issue. Performance is my only concern. And I am guaranteed to get some shading from the mast.

The cigs are supposed to work better with partial shading and they do not degrade as fast in the heat.

David M

Saturday 26th of June 2021

The voltages of the 100w panels are very similar to the voltages of the 200w panels that have twice the wattage. Why is that? If I want 400w of total panels on the roof of my van and am wiring in series does this mean that four panels instead of two will give me better panel efficiency in winter due to a higher total array voltage? I’ll be buying an MPPT controller sufficient for my loads later.

Andrew Bishop

Friday 18th of June 2021

What’s your opinion / thoughts on flexible panels? Thinking of using a few bc of the top curve of an airstream.

Duane

Tuesday 15th of June 2021

Why use 100 W panels and Fill every spot on top of your RV when you can get 300 W panels and have just a few of them? Thanks in advance

Nate Yarbrough

Friday 18th of June 2021

Ultimately, it just depends on what panels fit in your own specific application. Usually it's possible to get more wattage on the roof by using smaller panels. Like this: https://youtu.be/VP4uOsKVD9U