Paved To Pines Blog

Van Conversion - Solar power

Posted by Paved To Pines on Jul 25, 2019 8:04:14 PM

Author Paved to Pines / Solar Power FAQ / Published: October-05-2018 / Information From GPelectric - Our Main Solar Provider

How much solar do I need in my rv?

First, you need to ask yourself, "what kind of camper am I?" 

We've split it into three categories for you to make your decision a little easier.

The Minimalist

The Weekend Warrior

The Full-Timer


Just the essentials (DC power only)

Your battery will power lights, fans and other DC appliances. (Think of 12v appliances)

This is great if you just need to charge small gear, like phones, cameras, your roof fan, and other small accessories to keep you comfortable while camping.

A small solar panel with 1-2 batteries would suffice, with your small accessories, there would be no need for an inverter or if you did want a small one, a lighter plugin inverter is a cost-effective option.

Low power draw, 1-3 x 100 amp/hr battery bank:

  • Go Power RETREAT Solar Kit (100 watts) - Perfect for keeping your battery topped up and light 12v usage (small LED lights, phone chargers, fantastic/maxxair roof fans.).

Weekend Warrior
Camping with comfort (AC/DC power)

Your Solar and inverter systems provide clean, quiet power enabling you the freedom to camp off-grid with the ability to run TVs, coffee makers and other AC powered devices. 

If this is something that sounds more like your camping lifestyle, you'll need a bigger battery bank, a 1500-2000 watt inverter (depending on appliance needs), and a large solar panel kit.

Medium power draw, 2-4 x 100 amp/hr battery bank:

  • WEEKENDER Solar Kit (170 watts)

  • ELITE Solar Kit (340 watts)

Full-time Vanlifer with back up power
(AC/DC power)

Solar and inverter systems allow for long-term, generator-free RVing with all the comforts of home.

These kits offer a large battery bank that replenishes itself quit quickly dependant on your use. Keep in mind that, no matter what, you will still need to be mindful of turning off your systems and appliances when they're not in use. You can still drain your solar battery bank with a larger system.

High power draw, 4+ x 100 amp/hr battery bank:

  • ELITE Solar Kit (340 watts)

  • EXTREME Solar Kit (510 watts)

Wait.. What the hell are AC and DC,

Isn't that a band? 

Well you are right.... It is a band, a dam good band at that.

BUT, unfortunately, cranking Thunderstruck wont install, charge, or increase your knowledge of your future solar system.


Here's an easy way to understand what you need for solar in your RV!


Image copyright GoPower Electric


What's the best solar panel for campervans and rv's?


There are many different solar companies out there now. As the technology becomes more affordable and the market has less barriers to entry, new RV Solar options are coming out more often. But how do you decide?
Do your research, lots of conversion companies have their preferences. Ours is GoPower Electric. We've worked with them for near all of our van and skoolie conversions. They provide fantastic customer service, they're close to us, and they have a great product that we haven't had any issues with. 
Heres why:

Basic Solar Kits (DC ONLY) - Go Powers solar kits are expandable so they can grow with you and your solar needs with easy installation.

Complete Solar (DC) & Inverter (AC) Kits - Go Powers complete Solar Packages integrate with your van or school bus conversion (RVs) electrical system and are as simple as the press of a button once installed.

Other power companies worth looking at are:
- Renogy
- Zamp
- Victron
- Battleborn
- GoalZero

Need help installing your rv solar kit?

Contact us, and let us know if you have any questions, comments, or need a trained installer to help you with your campervan conversion.

Paved To Pines is a campervan conversion company based out of Saskatchewan, Canada. We specialize in start-to-finish van and skoolie conversion but love helping out the DIY community for tips, tricks, and partial conversions!

Paved To Pines.

Topics: RV Solar, Electrical Systems

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