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Guide to choose the most appropriate solar kit for your camping needs

Published : 07/06/2018 10:00:55
Categories : Photovoltaic Panels

Installation of solar panels on caravans and trailers is becoming more ad more widespread and allows to increase energy independence and to enjoy your holiday at best and in a natural way.

Mounting a solar panel on these vehicles does not necessarily require the involvement of an expert and on sale you can find different photovoltaic kits that make this operation even more simple and available for everyone. However, even if it is true that designing a plant is not an extremely complicated operation, it is also true that, for an appropriate choice of the panel and of the needed components, it is fundamental to take into account some basic concepts.

1.What does a kit contain?

Photovoltaic kits for camping are mainly composed by

- a photovoltaic module for caravans

- a charge regulator

- cables and connectors necessary for the connection

In some cases they can also contain attachment supports.

2.Calculating energy demand of the caravan

In order to choose a panel of the right dimensions it is above all necessary to estimate your caravan or trailer daily energy demand. In order to do that, you will only need to take note of every electric device that is present on the vehicle (lights, chargers, television, fridge, etc.) and of the respective power consumption, paying attention to the typology of power required. Usually, electric devices that are present on caravans and trailers, require a constant power absorption. In this case, for the energy storage, it will be sufficient to arm yourself of a battery. Instead, if they require an alternate power absorption, it will be necessary to install also an inverter.

Once you have estimated the daily consumption, you will be able to proceed with the choice of the panel. It is advisable to buy a panel which guarantees a superior production compared to averagely absorbed energy throughout the day. This is due to different reasons. The main one is that the production of panels can differ due to various factors like transparency, shading, and the angle of the sun. Furthermore, batteries used for storage get damaged if quickly discharged.

European union has provided a calculator for the performance that allows you to estimate in a quickly and easily way the monthly return of the photovoltaic plant. This can be really useful in the choice of the module. In order to calculate your panel's return, you should firstly connect to this link: http://re.jrc.ec.europa.eu/pvgis/apps4/pvest.php?lang=it&map=europe. After having chosen the "stand-alone PV" option, you will be required to insert some data including position, power peak of the module, voltage, capacity, discharge limit of batteries, daily consumption and inclination of the modules. If panels are installed on the roof of a caravan, for example, in items "inclination" and "orientation" you should insert the value of 0 degrees. Once you put all data in, the system will automatically calculate a monthly estimation of the production of the panel and charge level of batteries. Obtained estimations are just indicative, however they can prove to be useful to have a more precise idea of the most appropriate system for your needs.

3.The choice of battery

Kits on sale usually do not provide a battery, however this is an essential element for the solar plant for caravans and trailers. Generally, in fact, it is recommended to obtain a power accumulator that allows to store energy and to use it when needed, regardless the presence of sun. Obviously, the wattage of the battery has to be chosen depending on energy demand, and, as a consequence, on the power of the panel.

Since various kinds of batteries exist, the most suited for caravans is the AGM battery. It is about a class of accumulators in lead in which the electrolyte is absorbed into a matrix made of thin fiberglass. The plates of these batteries are very compact and assure a longer resistance to vibrations, when compared to standard ones. Furthermore, AGM batteries self-unloading is very low (less than 3% per month), but, above all, they are being constructed in order to not to be opened AGM battery is loss-proofing and doesn't require maintenance.

Following these guidelines, it will not be difficult to chose the most appropriate photovoltaic solar kit for your needs. You should not forget that your choice will also be influenced by the amount of space available for the installation of the panel and batteries.

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