Best Solar Panels for Van

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Last Updated on December 31, 2020

Best Solar Panels for Van

Vans are no longer a vehicle solely reserved for transporting goods and merchandise.

In fact, vans are becoming more and more popular for personal use and for camping.

Many people are choosing to convert vans into the perfect camping vehicle so that you can take some time away and drive away into adventure with everything you need on hand.

They can be highly efficient and convenient, without skipping out on comfort, and there’s a really easy way to make them extremely cost-efficient when it comes to the energy source: installing solar panels.

They’re perfect for having a source of energy to power up all of the devices and equipment you have with you in your van, especially as more and more camping equipment is becoming able to be powered by solar panels!

It might seem like installing solar panels on your van is a complicated task, or you might think that you need a special type of van.

But truth is, installing a solar panel is as easy as securely fitting it onto the van’s roof, so that it powers up during the day while you’re driving, and can then be the source of energy for all of your appliances.

Solar panels are also a lot more accessible than you might think, and there’s plenty of options in today’s market to choose from so that you can find a solar panel that suits you and your van.

To help ensure you choose the best possible option, we’ve compiled a list with our top five picks for the best overall solar panels for vans!

In a hurry?

Converting a van into the perfect camping or traveling vehicle has never been easier, making vans a convenient and great alternative to the traditional caravans.

Many appliances and pieces of equipment can now be powered by a solar panel, so installing a solar panel onto your van is a great way to power up everything you need in a cost-efficient and environmentally-friendly way.

If you’re in a hurry to find the best possible solar panel, we recommend you check our number one top option: the Renogy Monocrystalline Solar Panel.

Renogy is a highly reliable and well-known brand, specializing in solar products and renewable energy, so the Renogy Monocrystalline Solar Panel is 100% guaranteed to be high-quality.

It has an advanced encapsulation material and multi-layered sheet laminations which enhance cell performance and allow for the solar panel to be extremely reliable. This panel is also extremely durable, able to withstand high winds and snow loads, as well as having a long life-span.

A great bonus feature is that it comes with pre-drilled holes for an easier installation onto your van, as well as being compatible with many different mounts, making it very versatile.

It has been designed to be smaller than other Renogy panels, but it still has the same power output with a maximum of 100 watts, ideal for powering up devices in your van.

With a junction box as well as male and female connector leads, it is an option to suit all needs.

Here are the main features:

  • Highly reliable and well-known brand
  • Advanced encapsulation material and multi-layered sheet laminations
  • Extremely durable
  • Easy to install with pre-drilled holes
  • 100 watts max power
  • Equipped with a junction box plus male and female connector leads

 

1. Renogy Monocrystalline Solar Panel

Renogy 100 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Solar Panel, Compact Design 42.2 X 19.6 X 1.38 in, High Efficiency Module PV Power for Battery Charging Boat, Caravan, RV and Any Other Off Grid Applications

Renogy is one of the leading companies when it comes to solar products and renewable energy, so any product from this brand is highly reliable and high-quality.

It is no wonder, therefore, that so many of our picks are Renogy products, including our top choice, the Renogy Monocrystalline Solar Panel.

The advanced encapsulation material and the multi-layered sheet laminations on this solar panel enhance cell performance and durability.

Able to withstand high winds and snow loads, this solar panel is ideal for any weather conditions. The pre-drilled holes on the back of this panel also allow it to be very easy to install, as well as being compatible with different mounting systems.

With a maximum power of 100 watts, it is ideal for powering up the devices and equipment in your van. This solar panel has also been designed to be slightly smaller than the average 100W panel, while having the same power output, making it even more convenient.

It also comes equipped with a junction box, as well as male and female solar panel connector leads.

Overall, it is extremely high quality and efficient, ideal for your van to suit all needs.

Pros:

  • Highly reliable and well-known brand
  • Advanced encapsulation material and multi-layered sheet laminations
  • Extremely durable
  • Easy to install with pre-drilled holes
  • 100 watts max power
  • Equipped with a junction box plus male and female connector leads

Cons:

  • No controller for the charge
Renogy 100 Watt 12 Volt Monocrystalline Solar Panel, Compact Design 42.2 X 19.6 X 1.38 in, High Efficiency Module PV Power for Battery Charging Boat, Caravan, RV and Any Other Off Grid Applications
  • 【Reliable】Advanced encapsulation material with multi-layered sheet laminations enhance cell performance and provide a long service life.
  • 【Durable】 positive output tolerance (0-3%); withstands high winds (2400Pa) and snow loads (5400Pa).
  • 【Versatile】Use it for your RV when camping, or during beach trips with the family, either way this monocrystalline panel provides you with the most efficiency per space.Maximum Series Fuse Rating: 15A
  • 【Installation Ready】Pre-drilled holes on the back of the panel allow for fast mounting and securing. Pre-drilled holes included for grounding. Compatible with different Renogy mounting systems such as Z-Brackets, Pole Mounts and Tilt Mounts.
  • 【Warranty 】25-year transferable power output ; 5-year material and workmanship .

2. HQST Polycrystalline Solar Panel

HQST 100 Watt 12 Volt Polycrystalline Solar Panel with Solar Connectors High Efficiency Module PV Power for Battery Charging Boat, Caravan, RV and Any Other Off Grid Applications

The HQST Polycrystalline Solar Panel is another excellent choice to ensure a reliable source of renewable energy to efficiently power up the devices in your van.

It features bypass diodes which minimize the power drop caused by shade, therefore ensuring high performance, even in low-light conditions!

The low-iron tempered glass with enhanced stiffness and impact resistance makes the solar panel highly durable and able to withstand strong winds and snow loads.

A long life-span is also ensured through the advanced encapsulation material and multi-layered sheet laminations which enhance cell performance.

This solar panel is very easy to install, thanks to the pre-drilled holes it comes with and the compatibility with different mount systems.

It is also equipped with a waterproof junction box and solar connect leads so that it is very easy to use!

With a maximum power output of 100 watts, it is ideal for van use and keeping all of your devices and equipment powered up!

Pros:

  • High-performance even in low-light conditions
  • Highly durable and resistant
  • Advanced encapsulation material and multi-layered sheet laminations
  • Pre-drilled holes for easy installation and compatible with multiple mounts
  • Waterproof junction box with solar connector leads
  • 100 watts max power

Cons:

  • Only the solar panel is included with the product
HQST 100 Watt 12 Volt Polycrystalline Solar Panel with Solar Connectors High Efficiency Module PV Power for Battery Charging Boat, Caravan, RV and Any Other Off Grid Applications
  • Anti-reflective, high transparency, low iron-tempered glass with enhanced stiffness and impact resistance, Withstand high winds (2400 Pa) and snow loads (5400 Pa). IP65 rated junction box provides complete protection against environmental particles and low pressure water jets.
  • Pre-drilled holes on the back of the panel allow for fast mounting and securing. Compatible with different mounting systems such as Z-brackets, Pole Mounts, and Tilt Mounts.
  • High module conversion efficiency. Ideal output: 500Wh per day (depending on the availability of sunlight). Bypass diodes minimize power drop caused by shade and ensure excellent performance in low-light environments.
  • Advanced encapsulation material with multilayered sheet laminations to enhance cell performance and provide a long service life. Corrosion-resistant aluminum frame for extended outdoor use, allowing the panels to last for decades
  • The package includes panel only. For good partner Z bracket mount, please search B06Y5QX9VX.

3. Renogy Flexible Monocrystalline Solar Panel

Renogy 100 Watt 12 Volt Extremely Flexible Monocrystalline Solar Panel

If the roof of your van is an uneven surface or is slightly curved, a regular solar panel won’t be suitable.

Instead, you can check out the Renogy Flexible Monocrystalline Solar Panel, which is not only highly reliable and high-quality (as all Renogy products are), but is also flexible and able to adapt to those curved or uneven surfaces!

In fact, it has an arc that reaches up to 248 degrees of curvature!

Thanks to advanced polymer materials, it is ultra-lightweight, weighing 70% less than the average solar panel, so transportation and installation are very easy.

It is also ultra-thin, 95% thinner than the average solar panel, making it barely noticeable when placed on your van, ideal if you don’t want it to stand out! It has been designed to withstand strong winds and snow loads, making it highly durable.

Despite its flexible design, it is still able to provide a power output of 100 watts, so it is a truly efficient and convenient product.

The junction box it is equipped with is also durable and waterproof!

Pros:

  • Highly reliable and well-known brand
  • Flexible with a max arc of 248 degrees – ideal for uneven or curved surfaces
  • Ultra-lightweight – 70% lighter than average solar panels
  • Ultra-thin – 95% thinner than average solar panels
  • Highly durable and weather-resistant
  • Maximum output power of 100 watts

Cons:

  • Not as durable or efficient as traditional rigid solar panels
Sale
Renogy 100 Watt 12 Volt Extremely Flexible Monocrystalline Solar Panel
  • Ultra Lightweight, Ultra Thin, Up to 248 Degree Arc, for RV, Boats, Roofs, Uneven Surfaces
  • 【Extremely Flexible】This panel is capable of meeting a wide range of applications where standard panels can be inconvenient to mount, such as on the curved roof of an airstream
  • 【Ultra Lightweight】Thanks to advanced polymer materials, this product weighs 70% less than conventional solar panels, making transportation and installation a breeze
  • 【Super Thin Lamination】Hardly noticeable, the Renogy 100W Lightweight Panel laid flat is only a tenth of an inch tall! Approximately 95% thinner than its rigid counterpart, this panel is ideal for a stealthy solar setup
  • 【Highly Durable】Rigorously tested, the 100W panel was designed to withstand extreme wind of up to 2400 Pa and snow loads of up to 5400 Pa

4. Renogy Eclipse Monocrystalline Solar Panel

Renogy 100 Watt Eclipse Monocrystalline Charge 20A Voyager Waterproof Controller Solar Suitcase, 100W-Waterproof

If you’re looking for a solar panel that has been designed with a great focus on practicality and efficiency, the Renogy Eclipse Monocrystalline Solar Panel might be the right product for you.

One of the most notable features of this solar panel is the excellent performance in low-lighting conditions, which makes it highly reliable when traveling around less sunny locations. It has a protective casing so that it is resistant to weather conditions and is more durable.

The low-voltage system it features is highly efficient in avoiding electric shock hazards, making this solar panel very safe to use. It also has alligator clips for an easy connection when in use, as well as being compatible with Gel, Sealed, Lithium, and Flooded batteries.

This solar panel has an adjustable, corrosion-resistant, aluminum stand, as well as a heavy-duty handle and latches for an enhanced life-span and a versatile installation.

With two 50-watt eclipse solar panels joined together, this solar panel has an overall power output of 100 watts.

Pros:

  • Extremely efficient in low-light conditions
  • Protective casing for durability and weather resistance
  • Low-voltage system to avoid electric shock hazards
  • Easy and versatile to install and use
  • Overall power output of 100 watts

Cons:

  • Some customers have noted a few craftsmanship issues
Renogy 100 Watt Eclipse Monocrystalline Charge 20A Voyager Waterproof Controller Solar Suitcase, 100W-Waterproof
  • Compatible with gel, sealed, Lithium, and flooded batteries.
  • Excellent performance in low-light environments, alligator clips for ease of connection. German-made Solar cells. Protective casing. The low-voltage system avoids electric shock hazards.
  • Adjustable, Corrosion-Resistant aluminum stand as well as a heavy duty handle and latches for longevity. Optimium Operating Current - 5. 68A
  • Negative-ground charge controller for compatibility with your RV, boat, trailer, etc. Charge controller with LCD display and fully adjustable PARAMETER settings. 20A built-in 5-stage Solar charge controller provides overcharge protection, reducing Fire risk.
  • Panels: 25-year power output: 5 Year/95% efficiency rate, 10 Year/90% efficiency rate, 25-year/80% efficiency rate 3-year material and workmanship.

5. Mighty Max Battery Solar Panel

Mighty Max Battery 100 Watts 100W Solar Panel 12V - 18V Poly Off Grid Battery Charger for RV Brand Product

The Mighty Max Battery Solar Panel is a great option that is able to cover all of the basics to a good standard of quality.

It features an innovative Photovoltaic Technology to enhance efficiency and cell performance. The strong aluminum frame it has allows it to be highly durable, withstanding strong winds and snow loads.

The installation is very easy thanks to the pre-drilled holes it comes with, and thanks to its compatibility with different mount systems.

It is also easy to install thanks to the simplified design that Mighty Max Battery has created, so much so that they claim even children could install the solar panel!

It has a maximum power output of 100 watts, ideal for powering up all of your necessary devices, and it is efficient even when in low-light conditions, adding to its reliability.

It also comes equipped with a junction box, built-in diodes, and connectors.

Pros:

  • Innovative Photovoltaic Technology for enhanced performance
  • Strong aluminum frame for durability and weather resistance
  • Pre-drilled holes for easy installation
  • Maximum power of 100 watts
  • Excellent in low-light conditions

Cons:

  • Does not include charge controller or mounting hardware
Mighty Max Battery 100 Watts 100W Solar Panel 12V - 18V Poly Off Grid Battery Charger for RV Brand Product
  • MLS-100WP is a 12v 18v 100 watt polycrystaline solar panel
  • Dimensions: 40 inches x 27 inches x 1.40 inches. Pre drilled diodes in junction box and a pair of 35 inch cables with MC4 connectors already attached to the panel
  • High efficiency solar cells based on innovative photovoltaic technology
  • Strong aluminum frame manufactured to withstand a heavier snow load and high wind pressures, passing a snow load of 5400Pa.
  • Pre drilled holes on the back of the panel for fast mounting and securing

Best Solar Panels for Van Buyer’s Guide

Installing a solar panel on your van can be a life-changing decision that leads to a reliable and efficient source of renewable energy to accompany you throughout your travels and adventures, able to power up your devices and equipment.

They’re far more accessible than people often think, and they are also extremely easy to mount onto the roof of a van for easy and convenient use.

However, with so many options available in today’s market, it can be a bit overwhelming to try and choose the best solar panel for you and your van.

There are many factors to consider and different features to look out for. For those that are new to solar panels, it can be quite a challenge to figure it all out.

We’ve compiled a small buyer’s guide that will hopefully be of some use or guidance.

Above all, remember to look for a solar panel that suits your specific needs, taking into account the use you’re planning on giving it.

Efficiency and Reliability

The amount of power a solar panel can provide depends on the amount of sunlight it is able to absorb, so it is very important to choose a solar panel that is highly efficient in absorbing sunlight.

Sunlight varies with the weather, which is why we recommend you look for a solar panel that is still highly efficient in low-light conditions!

You should also look out for a solar panel that enhances cell performance, as that is what will ensure sunlight is absorbed and converted into an energy source for your van in a reliable and efficient manner.

Durability and Weather Resistance

As with any purchase, it’s always desirable to know that the product will last a good amount of time.

With a solar panel, it’s extra important that it is highly durable, as you will be relying on it for power as you travel around, perhaps even in off-grid locations.

As it is installed on the roof of the van, it is exposed to outdoor conditions, so it is even more important that it is durable, and also able to withstand weather conditions.

Some solar panels come with a protective casing, but if not you can look out for solid materials such as an aluminum frame. You should also choose a solar panel that is able to withstand both strong winds and snow loads so that it is guaranteed to be weather-resistant.

Installation

Installing a solar panel on your van can seem daunting, but it is a lot easier than you might think.

Some solar panels also make sure that the installation process is even easier, by having pre-drilled holes or a simplified design.

Look out for solar panels that are versatile in their compatibility with mounting systems, so that you’re guaranteed to be able to install it with ease onto your van.

Types of Solar Panels

As mentioned before, there are different types of solar panels, to suit different needs or preferences, giving you plenty to choose from.

Here’s a simple summary of the different types depending on different factors:

Solar panels depending on form

  • Rigid solar panels: These are the most common types of solar panels. They’re rigid and often come with an aluminum frame for enhanced durability and resistance. They tend to have a longer life-span than flexible solar panels and are a lot more weather-resistant.
  • Flexible solar panels: Flexible solar panels are ideal for uneven or slightly curved surfaces, as they are flexible and can adapt to the surface shape. They are often a lot lighter and thinner than rigid solar panels while remaining just as effective. The issue with them is that they’re a lot less durable and weather-resistant, and can be prone to scratches and dirt.

Solar panels depending on Photovoltaic Cell Type

  • Monocrystalline Solar Panels: Monocrystalline solar panels feature single-crystal silicon. This allows electrons to move more efficiently, so in turn, electricity is generated faster and more efficiently.
  • Polycrystalline Solar Panels: Polycrystalline solar panels feature many different crystals of silicon of smaller sizes. This means the electrons move around less efficiently than with the Monocrystalline panels. However, Polycrystalline solar panels are cheaper, and therefore more popular.
  • Amorphous Solar Panels: Amorphous Solar Panels don’t quite feature cells, but rather have the silicon material formed directly on the glass in very thin layers. This makes them efficient even in cloudy weather. However, this type of solar panel isn’t suitable for vans, and it is also the most expensive type.

Solar panels depending on placement

  • Fixed Solar Panels: Fixed solar panels are very popular for vans. They require an installation process to mount the solar panel onto the roof, and they then remain fixed, constantly collecting energy whenever the sun shines.
  • Portable Solar Panels: Portable solar panels are ones that you keep in your van and then set up whenever you need to charge up. The good thing about them is that they don’t require being installed, and you can take them anywhere, even without the van. However, you would have to park the van and set them up to let them charge, which might not be the best option if you’re traveling about.

Frequently Asked Questions

What maintenance do solar panels require?

Once you’ve installed a solar panel onto your van, it barely requires any maintenance, which is why it’s so convenient!

However, for them to be fully efficient, it is highly recommended that you dust them from time to time so that the dirt and dust don’t interfere with the sunlight absorption.

You can also check the product description for each solar panel to see if there is any specific way to keep it clean and running at top quality.

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