How to fit solar panel to motorhome?
Fitting a solar panel to a motorhome is quite a straightforward job. With a little bit of DIY knowledge and a few tools and components the job is well within the ability of the average DIY er.
There are many of these kits available from several specialised motorhome suppliers and solar manufacurers, but they basically should all come supplied with the same type of parts.
Parts in a motorhome solar panel kit will include:
- The solar panel or panels depending on the level of power that you choose. At a minimum you should go for a 50 watt panel.
- A charge controller – this controls the level of charge from the panel that goes to your battery, it is a safeguard which will prevent your motorhome battery from becoming overcharged.
- All the necessary cable and other components for connecting it all together.
- Mounts for the solar panel – to enable you to secure the panel to your motorhome roof.
- Instructions for installation.
The installation process is reasonably simple but will take a little nerve – you’ll need to get onto or near to the roof of your motorhome and you’ll also most likely need to drill a hole for the cable, unless there is an existing aperture that the cable can be fed through.
As well as containing everything that you need for a trouble free and easy installation, the use of a solar kit for your motorhome solar power system will ensure that you get product support from the manufacturer and, of course, a warranty.
Many motorhome kits come with long warranties, circa 25 years in many cases.
Of course you also have the option to select all of the individual components yourself for your solar system and you will need to source the panel, charge controller and cables as well as the connectors and mounts for the panel.
There are a variety of options open to you to do this including camping suppliers, RV and motorhome traders and, of course the internet which opens up a whole world of suppliers for you.
Installation of solar on a motorhome follows a simple process:
- Mount the solar panel(s) on the roof. You’ll need to use the brackets that are supplied and drill appropriate holes. Always leave an air gap as panels can get warm in use – cool panels are more efficient.
- The cable from the panel will need to be fed through the roof or side of the motorhome – to prevent water leaks you should use a cable gland that fits securely.
- The cable from the panel will connect to input connectors on the charge controller and the outputs connect to the battery. Use a fuse on the output positive to protect your battery and panel.
- A tube of silicone sealant can be useful to help to seal the hole where the cable enters the vehicle.
- As a final step to keep things tidy, a few cable ties can be used to secure the cables.
And that’s it – job done!
Fitting a system is pretty easy and if you enjoy DIY and are reasonably comfortable then why not go for it?
You’ll improve your vehicle, the resale value will increase, functionality will be better and also, it helps you to do your little bit for the planet.