5 Best Solar Panels for Your Caravan in 2024

Caravans have long been a fixture of British life — for both residential and recreational purposes. 

But in the last decade, caravan living has exploded in popularity.  A recent government survey found that the number of residential caravans in the UK increased by 33% between 2012 and 2022 — from 19,261 to 25,653. 

And that doesn’t include the many motorhomes and caravans people in Britain use for leisure. 

Whether you live in your caravan full time or only take it out for weekends, having a reliable source of off-grid electricity takes your experience to the next level.

Off-grid power for caravans used to mean tugging around a noisy, toxic fume emitting petrol or diesel generator. But thanks to vastly improved technology (and decreasing prices), switching to solar panels for your caravan’s electricity needs has never made more sense.

Read on for reviews of the best solar panels, portable power stations, and Power Kits for caravans on the market today.

EcoFlow’s Top Solar Panels for a Caravan in 2024

  1. Best for Full-Timers and Permanent Installations: Power Kits + 2 x 400W Rigid Solar Panels
  2. Best To Maximise Surface Area: 100W Flexible Solar Panels
  3. Best For Holiday Caravaners: DELTA 2 + 220W Solar Panel
  4. Best For Extended Caravan Adventures: DELTA 2 Max + 400W Portable Solar Panel
  5. Best To Power Consumer Electronics: RIVER 2 + 110W Portable Solar Panel

Best for Full-Timers and Permanent Installations: Power Kits + 2 x 400W Rigid Solar Panels

If you live in your caravan year-round and want the freedom to stay anywhere you like — not just on sites with electrical hookups — EcoFlow’s Power Kits could be your ideal off-grid power solution. 

The modular system is expandable from 2kWh to 15kWh of electricity storage, and with 4,800W of solar charging input, you can connect up to 12 400W rigid or portable solar panels

Power Kits were designed specifically with caravans, motorhomes, and tiny homes in mind. It’s easy to customise and install a complete off-grid electricity solution that meets your unique electricity consumption requirement.  Check out this handy Power Kit calculator to see what kind of setup would suit your needs. With 3,600W of AC output (7,200 starting watts), you can start and run just about anything you would possibly need for a comfortable caravan life.

If your caravan has an existing 12V electrical system, a Power Kit is a perfect fit. Not only is a Power Kit fully 12V compatible, but it offers a substantial upgrade. Its 48V system produces the same amount of power, but unlike 12V, only a quarter of the electric current passes through the wires, emitting significantly less heat and reducing power loss. 

Power Kits offer a safer, more efficient — and renewable — solution for 12V caravan electrical systems.    

Power Kit Specifications

Storage Capacity: 2kWh – 15 kWh (Expandable)

AC Main Output: 3600W (Surge 7200W), 230V, 50Hz/60Hz (Pure Sine Wave)

AC Input: 3000W Max, 30A Ma (X-Stream Fast Charging)

Solar Input/Charging: 4800W (spread across three 1600W ports)

Cycle Life: ~3000 Cycles up to 80% Capacity

Weight: Variable 

Dimensions: Variable

App: Yes

Solar Panel Specifications (Per Panel)

Rated Power: 400W

Efficiency: 23%

Cell Type: Monocrystalline

Construction: Rigid

Dimensions: 172.2×113.4×3.5cm (67.8×44.6×1.38 in)

Net Weight: 21.8kg (48 lbs)

Pros

  • Easy to customise and install
  • 5 in 1 compact design
  • Massive electricity generation and storage capacity
  • Expandable to meet your battery storage needs
  • Four charging methods: Solar, vehicle alternator, shore power, Smart Generator (Dual Fuel)
  • Safer, more efficient 48V system for 12V caravan wiring and appliances
  • LiFePO4 battery chemistry provides up to 10 years of daily use before storage capacity diminishes to +/- 80%
  • Compatible with rigid, portable and flexible solar panels — any combination of up to 4,800W of PV panel input

Cons

  • Substantial upfront investment
  • Fixed installation (not suitable for portable applications)

Best To Maximise Surface Area: 100W Flexible Solar Panels

Even if you have a large caravan, the available surface area that receives direct sunlight will always be at a premium. The more of your caravan’s exterior you can use to capture solar power, the greater your electricity generation potential. 

EcoFlow’s 100W Flexible Solar Panel is the only photovoltaic module on this list without a portable power station or Power Kit recommendation. While it’s perfectly compatible with EcoFlow’s smallest solar generator — the RIVER 2 — and all of the more powerful models, its best use case is as an addition to a rigid or portable solar panel array. Because of its extreme flexibility, this 100W solar panel can easily be installed in places where a rigid or portable solar panel cannot.

One example is the curved roof of a caravan or motorhome. Depending on the design of your vehicle, there may also be opportunities to mount flexible solar panels in other locations, such as on the sides or a sloped back roof. 

Flexible solar panels can be a valuable addition to any caravan solar panel solution if you aim to maximise available space and sunlight.  

Specifications

Rated Power: 100W

Efficiency: 23%

Cell Type: Monocrystalline

Construction: Flexible

Dimensions: 105.5 x 61.2 x 2.5cm

Net Weight:  2.3 kg (5 lbs)

Pros

  • Extremely flexible — curvature of up to 258°
  • Lightweight — 70% lighter than traditional solar panels
  • Ideal for mounting on irregular or curved surfaces
  • Mount without drilling using adhesive tape
  • Maximise electricity generation capacity by using more available space receiving direct sunlight
  • 23% efficiency from monocrystalline solar cells is much higher than with thin-film flexible solar panels

Cons

  • Low rated power output
  • Except in very low-wattage applications, flexible solar panels are best suited as an addition to a rigid or portable solar panel array

Best For Holiday Caravaners: DELTA 2 + 220W Solar Panel

If you regularly use your caravan for weekend holidays and short trips off-grid, the DELTA 2 + 220W Bifacial Portable Solar Panel could be your ideal, affordable off-grid electricity solution.

Delta 2 has enough AC output to power 90% of appliances — including pretty much anything you would use in a caravan. You can charge up with AC electricity from 0-80% in just 50 minutes before hitting the road, then use the 220W Bifacial Portable Solar Panel to power your off-grid holiday indefinitely.

The bifacial design features monocrystalline solar cells on both the front and back of the panel, maximising the capture of ambient sunlight. The additional photovoltaic surface is particularly handy on overcast days — not unheard of in the UK! 

You can recharge from 0-100% using only solar in 3-6 hours of daylight. And if your off-grid electricity needs grow, DELTA 2 can grow with you. With 1kWh of electricity storage out of the box, it’s expandable to 3kWh capacity with the addition of a DELTA 2 or DELTA 2 Max Smart Extra Battery.  

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Portable Power Station Specifications

Storage Capacity: 1024 Wh (Expandable to 3kWh)

AC Output: 1800W total (Surge 2700W)

Solar Input/Charging: 500W max

Cycle Life: 3000 cycles to 80%+ Capacity

Dimensions: 400 x 211 x 281 mm (15.7 x 8.3 x 11 in) 

Weight: 12kg (27 lbs) 

App: Yes

Solar Panel Specifications

Rated Power: 220W Front Side/155W Rear Side

Efficiency: 22-23%

Cell Type: Monocrystalline

Construction: Portable (Bifacial)

Dimension: 82 x 183 x 2.5cm (32.3 x 72 x 1 in)

Net Weight: 9.5kg (20.9 lbs) 

Pros

  • Entry-level off-grid/home-backup power solution runs 90% of appliances
  • Lightning-fast solar and AC charging (7x faster than competing products)
  • Up to 10 years of daily usage with no noticeable change in performance
  • Expandable from 1kWh to 3kWh of electricity storage
  • Bifacial solar panel design maximises sunlight capture on cloudy days
  • Up to 500W of solar charging input (ideal for 2 x 220W Bifacial Solar Panels)

Cons

  • Insufficient AC output for very high-wattage appliances and systems like HVAC

Best For Extended Caravan Adventures: DELTA 2 Max + 400W Portable Solar Panel

If you and your family enjoy going off-grid for extended trips in your caravan, but you’re not full-timing, the DELTA 2 Max + 400W Portable Solar Panel is an affordable but robust solution. The newest addition to EcoFlow’s DELTA series of solar generators, DELTA 2 Max is a significant upgrade in every way from the original DELTA Max. The DELTA 2 Max solar generator with 400W portable solar panel won the prestigious Red Dot Design Award shortly after debuting at CES 2023.  

The switch from Nickel Cadmium (NiCD) battery chemistry to lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4/LFP) brings DELTA 2 Max in line with the other EcoFlow solar generators for caravans featured here. LFP almost quadruples the cycle life (lifespan) of DELTA Max 2. It provides nearly four times the number of full charges and discharges before any noticeable decrease in performance. 

Increased longevity guarantees a more substantial return on investment, but that’s far from the only advantage of LiFePO4 battery chemistry. Thanks to EcoFlow’s proprietary multi charge technology, you can combine solar and AC power to recharge the 2048Wh capacity Delta 2 Max from 0-100% in as little as 43 minutes — the world’s fastest charge time for a solar generator with this much storage capacity! 

With 1000W of solar charge input, you’ve got plenty of options to customise your caravan setup by selecting a combination of rigid, flexible, and portable solar panels. DELTA 2 Max’s LFP battery and dual solar input MPPT charge controller tech offer the following recharge times (by solar panel rated power output):

  • 1000W Charge approx. 2.3 hours
  • 880W Charge approx. 2.6 hours
  • 800W Charge approx. 2.8 hours

Unless you live in your caravan full time, the DELTA 2 Max and your custom selection of rigid, portable, and flexible solar panels is the only off-grid electricity solution you’ll ever need. 

Portable Power Station Specifications

Storage Capacity: 2048 Wh (Expandable to 6kWh)

AC Output: 2400W total (Surge 4800W) 

Solar Input/Charging: 1,000W (Max) 

Cycle Life: 3000 cycles to 80%+ Capacity

Dimensions: 497 × 242 × 305 mm (19.6 × 9.5 × 12 in)   

Weight: 23kg (50 lbs)  

App: Yes

Solar Panel Specifications

Rated Power: 400W

Efficiency: 23%

Cell Type: Monocrystalline

Construction: Portable

Dimensions: 105.8 x 36.5 x 2.5cm (42 x 93  x 1 in)

Net Weight: 16kg (35 lbs)

Pros

  • Industry-leading multicharge and solar recharge performance
  • Expandable up to 6kWh of electricity storage capacity
  • Unbeatable off-grid recharge times with up to 1000W of solar input
  • Dual port MPPT charge controller technology
  • Whisper quiet charging of 30dB (almost half as loud as similar power stations)
  • Cutting-edge LiFePO4/LFP solar battery chemistry
  • 10+ years of daily use without a noticeable fall-off in performance
  • 400W portable solar panel offers industry-leading 23% efficiency utilising monocrystalline silicon solar cells 

Cons

  • Best for extended caravan holidays rather than full-time caravan living

Best To Power Consumer Electronics: RIVER 2 + 110W Portable Solar Panel

If you’re a caravan enthusiast who rarely travels off-grid, you don’t need to bring out the big guns when it comes to solar panels. EcoFlow’s RIVER 2 + 110W Portable Solar Panel can recharge in as little as 3 hours of direct sunlight — or charge it 0-100% in 1 hour via an outlet.

Weighing only 3.5kg with a tiny footprint of 24.5 x 21.4 x 14.2cm, RIVER 2 won’t eat up valuable space in your caravan, and it’s light enough to take with you anywhere. But just because it’s tiny doesn’t mean it’s not powerful. With up to 600W of AC output using X-Boost, the RIVER 2 solar generator can run up to 99% of consumer electronics.

RIVER 2 won’t be able to run your caravan’s kitchen appliances (at least not for long). But if you’re looking for an off-grid solution to power your smartphones, laptops, digital cameras — even a television — the RIVER 2 + 110W Portable Solar Panel is the ideal choice. Unlike power banks — which always seem to run out of juice at the wrong moment — you’ll never end up with a dead mobile as long as the sun shines.      

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Portable Power Station Specifications

Storage Capacity: 256Wh

AC Output: 300W total (surge 600W), 230V 50Hz/60Hz 

Solar Input/Charging: 110W Max

Cycle Life:  3000 cycles to 80%+ Capacity

Dimensions: 24.5 x 21.4 x 14.2cm (9.6 x 8.5 x 5.7 in)   

Weight: 3.5kg (7.7 lbs)  

App: Yes

Solar Panel Specifications

Rated Power: 110W

Efficiency: 23%

Cell Type: Monocrystalline

Construction: Portable

Dimensions: 178.5 x 42.0 x 2.5cm (20.2 x 62.5 x 0.8 in) 

Net Weight: 4kg (8.8lb)

Pros

  • Lightweight and compact enough to take anywhere
  • Operates 99% of consumer electronics
  • Most affordable EcoFlow solar generator
  • Long-lasting LFP battery provides at least 10 years of daily use   
  • Can generate up to 300Wh of off-grid electricity daily
  • IP68 water/dust resistant rating

Cons

  • Insufficient AC output to run high-wattage appliances
  • Limited electricity storage capacity between charges

What To Consider When Choosing Solar Panels for Your Caravan

Many factors come into play when choosing the right solar panels and balance of system for your caravan. 

Here are the most crucial points to consider before making a purchase decision.

Rated Power

A solar panel’s rated power measures the maximum amount of electricity it can capture and convert into DC electricity under ideal laboratory conditions. In a perfect world, a 400W portable solar panel will produce 400W of electricity per hour. However, perfect conditions (25°C, full noon sunlight, sea level air mass (AM) of 1.5 (1 sun) rarely exist in real life — or at least not for long. In practice, your solar panels will likely produce significantly less than their rated power output much of the time. Factors like cloudy weather, shade, and temperature can further reduce electricity generation.

How much electricity your solar panel produces will vary based on the time of day, the weather, and more. When planning a solar panel array for your caravan, assume that PV panels will produce 75% of their rated power during daylight hours. It’s virtually impossible to predict exactly how much electricity a solar panel will produce, but that’s a reasonable starting point.   

Portable Power Station or Balance of System

With very few exceptions — such as EcoFlow’s GLACIER Portable Refrigerator — caravan appliances and consumer electronic devices can’t run using solar panels alone. Photovoltaic panels are an essential to a solar power system — but they don’t work by themselves.

At a minimum, off-grid solar power solutions require the following components to function:

Without these essential parts, your caravan solar panels simply won’t work.  

You can opt to build a DIY balance of the system using components from different manufacturers, but you’re likely to run into compatibility issues. In a caravan, where space is always an issue, an all-in-one or modular solution like EcoFlow’s portable power stations and Power Kits makes much more sense. 

Size and Weight (Portability)

How much the portability of a solar panel and balance of system matters depends on your specific use case. If you’re going to use your off-grid solar power system in the caravan full-time, a modular fixed system like the Power Kit might be your best choice — especially if you need a lot of power.

However, if you want a portable power station and solar panels that are easy to take anywhere, a RIVER 2 Series solar generator and a portable solar panel ranging from 110W – 220W is likely a better choice.

Carefully weigh up how much power you need vs. portability and select a solar panel system that balances both requirements.

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Efficiency

For solar panels, efficiency is a very specific metric. It measures how much available sunlight a PV panel can capture and convert into DC electricity. The higher a solar panel’s efficiency (or conversion) rating, the more electricity it can produce with the photovoltaic cells contained within it.

The average solar panel efficiency rating is between 15-18%. All of the EcoFlow solar panels featured here boast an industry-leading conversion rate of 22-23%. That means you can produce more electricity using less space than low-efficiency polycrystalline or thin-film solar panels. 

Solar Cell Type 

PV panels are composed of hundreds of solar cells protected by a transparent material like ETFE film or tempered glass. The type of solar cell used has a substantial effect on efficiency. The most commonly used solar cells are made of:

  • Monocrystalline silicon
  • Polycrystalline silicon
  • Thin-film (Various compositions)

Monocrystalline solar cells — like those in EcoFlow’s PV panels — are the gold standard when it comes to efficiency. They’re also the most expensive to produce.

Polycrystalline cells are made of multiple fragments of silicon instead of a single lab-grown crystal. They tend to be cheaper but can’t compete with monocrystalline solar panels when it comes to efficiency. 

Thin-film solar panels are often the least expensive — and by far the least efficient. Thin-film PV panels have their uses, but with conversion ratings in the single to low double digits, you’ll need a lot of them to produce much electricity.

Price 

When making a significant purchase, sticker price is important to everyone. But it’s essential to keep in mind that solar power is a long-term investment. Polycrystalline and thin-film panels may be the cheapest options, but they’ll also generate significantly less electricity. 

Over time, higher efficiency (and higher priced) solar panels more than make up the difference in upfront cost by generating more electricity and helping you achieve solar payback more quickly.

With a caravan solar panel solution, price isn’t usually the best indicator of value for money. Work out the long-term costs of a budget off-grid electricity system before making a purchase decision.

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Durability

Solar panels must be durable by definition. To capture the sun’s energy efficiently, PV panels must be outside and exposed to the elements. Make sure you choose a solar panel built to endure extreme weather events and temperatures high and low. 

A solar panel’s IP rating measures its water and dust resistance level — a reliable indicator of durability. EcoFlow’s solar panels are IP68 rated — meaning you can even immerse them in water at a depth of one meter with no ill effects.

Always check the IP rating of a portable power station. For example, EcoFlow’s RIVER 2 is also IP68 rated. Given that it’s the most compact solar generator EcoFlow offers, it’s perfect for outdoor use. A high IP rating isn’t as essential for larger portable power stations and Power Kits, but ensure you have some level of water and dust resistance protection.

Lastly, check customer reviews online and see if anyone has concerns about durability and performance.   

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Average Daily Sun Hours in the UK 2001 -2022 (Source: Statista)

Climate

No matter how much (or how little) you spend on caravan solar panels, the amount of electricity they produce depends primarily on how much direct sunlight they receive. You probably don’t need a graph to tell you this, but the UK isn’t the world’s sunniest location. 

With daily sun hours historically averaging at just over four, solar panel efficiency and rated power capacity become even more crucial to consider. The more efficient your PV panel, the more electricity you’ll generate from limited sunlight.

In many ways, EcoFlow’s 220W Bifacial Portable Solar Panels are tailor-made for the British climate because they maximise ambient sunlight capture on cloudy days. For this reason, chaining 2 x 220W solar panels together rather than buying a single 400W PV panel may make more sense in the UK.

Temperature can also impact solar panel efficiency, but only at extremes of heat and cold that rarely occur in Britain.  

Benefits of Adding a Solar System to Your Caravan

The benefits of switching to solar are enormous — but especially for a caravan owner. As part of the attraction of caravaning is mobility, there are even more benefits to portable solar power systems. 

Here are a few of the most valuable benefits of choosing off-grid solar for your caravan.

Free Power

Once your solar payback is complete, any electricity you generate with your PV panel system is free. Unlike with fossil-fuel generators, there are no ongoing petrol or propane costs. Additionally, you’re free to park up anywhere with sun and still have electricity. No more hunting for sites with electrical hookups — and paying additional fees — just to power your caravan.

Eco-Friendly

Transitioning away from using fossil fuels to generate electricity is essential to reaching a net-zero future and reducing the negative impact of human-made climate change. Using a clean, renewable energy source like solar for your caravan reduces your carbon footprint — plus, you don’t have to put up with a noisy, toxic-fume-producing petrol generator.

Energy Independence

For many caravaners, freedom is the main attraction. That freedom is drastically curtailed when you’re limited to caravan sites with electrical hookups. With a DELTA 2 Max and 2 x 220W Bifacial Portable Solar Panels or a Power Kit with up to 4,800W of solar input, you can live off-grid full time anywhere the sun shines.

Even smaller options like the RIVER 2 w/110W Solar Panels can keep all your personal devices up and running indefinitely.

Off-grid solar panel systems for caravans are the best way to achieve personal energy independence. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How Many Watts Solar Panels Do I Need for My Caravan?

The rated power wattage of the solar panels you need for your caravan primarily depends on your electricity consumption requirements. If you just want to power your smartphone and other consumer electronic devices, a 110W portable solar panel should be sufficient. If you’re living in your caravan full time, a combination of 400W rigid or portable solar panels and 100W flexible solar panels allows you to maximise your electricity production capacity.  

Are Solar Panels on Caravans Worth It?

Solar panels are one of the best investments you can make if you live in your caravan full-time and don’t want to be restricted to sites with electrical hookups. You get noise and toxic emission-free renewable electricity with no maintenance or ongoing fuel costs. Even if you’re only a weekend caravanner, a 110W solar panel can indefinitely power your essential devices at a low price.

Looking for Solar Panels for Your Caravan? Shop EcoFlow!

Whether you’re a part-time caravan enthusiast or live in one full-time, EcoFlow has an off-grid solar power system that’s right for you.

With a wide range of rigid, flexible, and portable solar panels, you can easily customise your setup to meet your caravan’s electricity consumption needs. EcoFlow’s portable power stations and Power Kits offer everything you need for fixed or portable caravan solar installations.

Check out EcoFlow’s off-grid power solutions for caravans today!

ECOFLOW
ECOFLOWhttps://www.ecoflow.com/
EcoFlow is a portable power and renewable energy solutions company. Since its founding in 2017, EcoFlow has provided peace-of-mind power to customers in over 85 markets through its DELTA and RIVER product lines of portable power stations and eco-friendly accessories.

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