The most eco-friendly and sustainable alternative for charging your leisure battery is to use an off-grid solar system. In addition to the obvious eco friendliness, a solar system offers you the advantage of being able to travel completely autonomously, given that you have enough sunshine. To find the best solar system for your needs you need to take your power requirements, the travel destinations, hours of sunshine and angle of incidence into consideration. And you should think about alternatives for more clouded days.
Although a solar system is faced with relatively high acquisition costs, you should make up for this with possible additional costs of other options. A solar system for about 400 euros equals the cost of about 90 to 100 days of electricity while standing in a campsite – If you think about using the alternator (if you don’t care about the environment) don’t forget about the fuel for the operation of the alternator and it’s costs.
Of course, you have to relate the meaning of such an investment with your travel plans, but it is definitely worthwhile to set up such a calculation. Let me tell you that there is nothing better than standing in one spot for days, with cool drinks and fully charged batteries. And all that without having to worry about losing energy.
In order to be prepared for every situation on our journey, we installed a 160Wp solar panel, which generates up to 640 Wh / d in summer.
In addition to the solar panel, we installed a solar charge controller with over-and decharge, deep- and discharge, reverse polarity and overvoltage protection, which safely and reliably connects the solar panel to our utility battery and supplies it with solar energy. For the installation of the solar system, it is advisable to purchase one of the fillpackages offered, which contain not only solar panels and solar charge controllers, but also all the equipment needed for mounting and installation on the vehicle.
Of course, there are days on every trip, where not only the sun keeps shines. Therefore, in addition to the 160W solar system, we also decided to connect a 230V charger and connected the utility battery to the alternator of our VW T4 so that the battery is also charged when the engine running. So in worth case situations we can keep our utility battery alive, at campsites, regular power outlets, or by running the engine in an environmentally harmful manner (not an option for us, but never say never).
If you have any further questions about our off-grid solar system feel free to send us an eMail to firstname.lastname@example.org
@wander.horizons vanlife | travel | adventure