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Stay switched on, off grid!

accessories / vw camper / motorhomes

One of the best things about having a leisure vehicle is the ability to use all your electric-powered creature comforts even whilst holidaying in the middle of nowhere!

Most campsites have electric hook-up, but for those that don’t or for those of you who enjoy a little wild camping from time to time, solar panels are a great way to ensure you still have access to a power supply.

solar panels

Wild camping allows motorhome and campervan owners to take off on a weekend away (or longer if you fancy!) and simply find a spot you like the look of to park up for the night - as long as there aren’t any parking restrictions of course! It gives you the ultimate freedom and is especially popular on the continent, so if you’re thinking of a trip to France, this could be the way to go!

Motorhomes are equipped with a kitchenette and washroom, allowing you to be completely self-contained throughout your trip, which is ideal for going off-grid to enjoy a truly rural experience.

Although leisure batteries alone can be good for overnight stays, they won’t provide power for more than a day. The beauty of a solar panel is that it will provide a constant supply of power which is free of charge!


How do solar panels work?

When sunlight shines on a solar panel, energy from the sun is absorbed by the photovoltaic (PV) cells in the panel. This energy creates electrical charges that move in response to an internal electrical field in the cell, causing electricity to flow. House solar panels work in the same way as motorhome or caravan solar panels, except that on a leisure vehicle, the flow of electricity is directed into the leisure battery. 

Did you know that even on the cloudiest of days solar panels will still be able to collect some power? However, their efficiency is likely to only be around 34% of that on a sunny day, so be sure to plan for some cloudy days when you’re considering how much power you might need during your trip. You can use your solar panels to not only power your leisure vehicle during the day, but also to charge your leisure battery for use during nighttime hours too.

Which vehicles have them?

Whether a vehicle comes equipped with a solar panel will depend on its age and the model. Many older models may not have them and some lower spec models may not come with them as standard either. If having a solar panel is on your list of must-haves, be sure to let the dealership you’re buying from know so they can guide you towards models that have them.

Remember that even if the model you choose does not come equipped with one, or if you buy a pre-owned model that is a little older, you can always opt to have one installed when you purchase it - or at any time in the future! Solar panels are inexpensive and you’ll soon see return on investment when you reap the benefits of having free electricity whenever you need it!

What types of solar panels are there?

Solar panels for leisure vehicles generally come in 60w, 80w, 100w and 120w. At Winchester Caravans and Motorhomes we fit two types of solar panel - Sargent and Truma - with the most popular size being 100w. The 100w Sargent weighs in at 8.5kg and measures 1170mm x 534mm x 35mm and can be fitted by our expert workshop team for approx £599. The 100w Truma weighs 8.8kg and measures 1263mm x 535mm x 70mm and we can fit this for an approx price of £499.

In addition to the solar panels that we fit to vehicles, we also sell freestanding 100w panels, which are lightweight, foldable and portable and even come with USB ports for charging your devices. Check them out in our online shop to find out more.

5 great reasons to have a solar panel

  • They offer great value for money; they’re relatively inexpensive to buy and fit and they’ll provide you with free electricity anytime you need it.

  • They’re lightweight and compact so you’ll barely know they’re there!

  • They’re quick to fit so you can have yours fitted in time for that upcoming trip.

  • They’re economical as you’re only using energy that you generate!

  • They’ll give you the complete freedom to head off on wild camping trips whenever you fancy.

What next?

If you’d like to discuss leisure vehicle solar panels with us, please give us a call on 01962 714 844 or drop into the showroom and see us. Once you’ve decided to go ahead, simply contact us and we’ll get your vehicle booked into our workshop and get the order placed. We keep a number of panels in stock and if we do have to order in, it will arrive within a few working days. If you’re due to go away soon, we’ll always endeavour to get your vehicle sorted before you go!

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