The Ultimate Guide To Van Solar Panels

Powering camper vans and recreational vehicles (RVs) has become easier by using clean and renewable energy. Enthusiasts looking to convert their van to a mobile home can invest in solar power panels. Portable van solar panels can efficiently convert solar energy to electricity, reducing your outdoor living costs.

Jackery SolarSaga 100W Solar Panels are designed to power small appliances like smartphones, tablets, etc. For more power, you can connect the solar panels to the Jackery Explorer Portable Power Station. This will help you charge all small and large devices in your van for long hours.

Below is a quick overview of three different sizes of van solar panels.

Jackery SolarSaga 100W Solar Panels

jackery solarsaga 100w solar panels

- Renewable power.

- Made with monocrystalline silicon solar cells.

- Unique light-trapping surface.

- Portable, lightweight, and foldable in nature.

- High conversion rate of 24.3%.

- Compatible with most Jackery Explorer Power Stations.

Jackery SolarSaga 80W Solar Panels

jackery solarsaga 80w solar panels

- Dual-sided panels for enhanced solar conversion efficiency.

- IP68 waterproof and dustproof certified.

- High conversion rate of around 25%.

- Built with 2.8mm low iron full toughened glass.

- Free and renewable source of energy. 

Solar Panels For Van

Installing solar panels in your van can help reduce your carbon footprint, eliminate high electricity bills, and recharge appliances during outdoor adventures. As long as you have decent sunshine, you can keep on getting enough solar power.

However, it’s worth noting that the best solar panels for vans produce electricity when sunlight is available. Once the sun sets, solar panels will stop producing electricity. Therefore, the best way to generate power 24*7 is by connecting solar panels with portable power stations.

Jackery is the top solar brand that offers robust and portable solar generators available in different sizes and capacities. A solar generator combines highly-efficient solar panels to convert solar energy into electricity and portable power stations to store the generated energy.

How Van Solar Panels Work?

Each solar panel comprises photovoltaic cells (or PV cells) that convert the sun’s rays into electricity. It consists of two layers made up of semiconductor material called silicon. The top silicon is mixed with phosphorus to give a negative charge to the layer, while the bottom layer has boron to build a positive charge.

how van solar panels work

When one sunlight photon hits the electrons, the electric field pushes the electron out of silicon. Then, the metal plates on the side of PV cells collect the released electrons and transfer them to the wires. You can connect the solar power panels to a battery station to produce free power all day.

Preparation For Van Solar Panels

Before choosing any type or capacity of solar panels, you’ll need to calculate the power usage of your campervan.

Calculating the power usage of your van

Here are the simple steps to calculate how much electricity you require per day.

  • List all the electrical appliances and devices you will use in your van.
  • Calculate the amps required by each device and the hours you’ll use them.
  • Multiply amps by hours for each appliance and add all the amp hours required for one day.

This way, you can calculate the power in amps required for your off-grid adventure.

Match power usage to solar panel

As the capacity of solar panels is measured in watts, you have to calculate the watts you require per day.

Formula: Amps × Volts = Watts

For instance, if the amps required are 50 and the battery voltage is 12V, the watts will be:

Watts = 50A × 12V = 600 watts.

If a 200-watt panel provides 200 watts of power, you’ll have to connect three panels to produce 600 watts. However, that’s not the case if you choose power stations and solar panels.

With one power station and fewer solar panels, you can charge appliances for long hours and produce more than 600 watts. Besides, always understand your budget preferences before you choose any capacity of solar panels.

preparation for van solar panels

One of the other crucial factors to check out while choosing solar panels is the type of van you have. The larger the van size, the higher the battery capacity of the solar generator you will require. Below are a few common types of vans preferred by outdoor enthusiasts.

  • Dropside van
  • Tipper van
  • Box van
  • Luton van
  • 4×4 van
  • Pickup vans
  • Car-derived van
  • Electric van

Depending on the size of your camping vehicle, you can choose the best solar panels’ size and capacity. For instance, if your van consumes more power, the combination of Jackery SolarSaga 200W Solar Panels and Explorer 3000 Pro Portable Power Stations would work well.

How To Choose The Van Solar Panels?

The ultimate choice of van solar panels will depend on the specific needs of the users. However, it’s important to understand which types of solar panels are better — flexible, fixed, or portable solar panels.

Fixed Vs. Flexible Vs. Portable Solar Panels

Fixed solar panels are installed on the van’s roof but have lower quality. You cannot alter their positions or use them for other purposes as they are fixed. Due to their fixed nature, they are popularly installed on a home’s roof.

Flexible solar panels are ideal for campers, vans, and RVs, as they can be easily angled or curved. However, they are typically less durable and have less lifespan.

That’s why it’s ideal to choose portable solar panels. They are easy to set up and can be a great power source for outdoor adventures and even power outages. You can fold them and store them in your van when not required.

fixed vs flexible vs portable solar panels

Monocrystalline Vs. Polycrystalline Solar Panels

The next thing you’ll encounter while choosing the best solar panels for vans is whether they are monocrystalline or polycrystalline. The main difference between mono and poly panels is in their manufacturing process.

For instance, monocrystalline panels are made with a single crystal silicon structure, while polycrystalline have multiple. As mono panels are made with single silicon crystals, they are more efficient than poly panels.

Top Considerations When Choosing Van Solar Panels

Now let us reveal the main things to consider when choosing solar panels for vans. 

Efficiency: The more efficient the van solar panels are, the high power they can produce.

Voc or Open Circuit Voltage: Voc is the maximum voltage your solar panels can produce. For effective and safe charging, make sure the Voc is less than the acceptable voltage of a charge controller.

Dimensions: The next factor you must analyze is the dimensions of the solar panels. Prefer portable and foldable solar panels that can fit in small spaces like vans.

Warranty: Choose solar panels from reputable brands to ensure they will last long. You can consider investing in Jackery Solar Generators for vans with a solid warranty period.

How To Install The Van Solar Panels?

The most crucial thing in installing a van solar system is wiring solar panels with a charge controller.

Series: When solar panels are wired in series, the voltage gets added while the amps remain the same. However, one important thing to note is that if one panel becomes faulty, the whole circuit stops working.

Parallel: During parallel connection, the amps get added while the voltage remains unchanged. Unlike series connection, van solar panels in parallel continue to supply power even if one panel experiences a fault.

Installing solar panels for a van is relatively easy if you have portable solar panels. You can unfold the panels and connect them to a power station to start charging your devices. However, if you want to install solar panels on your van roof, you have to follow some general steps to complete the installation.

  • Place solar panels on the van roof and install brackets.
  • Using cables or wires, you can attach multiple solar panels together.
  • For permanent installation, you have to drill the hole in the roof.
  • Attach all the interior components and connect the battery to the panels.
  • Verify the connections, and that’s it. You have successfully installed the solar panels.

100W Solar Wiring

A solar panel with a watt capacity of 100 watts is capable of supplying power to small appliances like cell phones. You can choose the portable and lightest Jackery 100W SolarSaga Solar Panels. They can be directly connected to portable power stations using solar cables.

100w solar wiring

The Best Van Solar Panels With Jackery

In order to enjoy outdoor adventures to the fullest, choosing the right type and size of van solar panels is vital. Compared to flexible solar panels that are less durable, high-quality portable panels are ideal for off-grid power during camping, hiking, etc.

Jackery is the leading solar system manufacturer offering foldable and portable solar panels. They are highly efficient, meaning you can convert more sunlight into electricity. Below are the three popular solar panels you can choose for your van life.

Jackery SolarSaga 100W Solar Panels

Best known for a conversion efficiency of 24.3%, Jackery SolarSaga 100W Solar Panels are ideally suited for unexpected power outages and outdoor activities. In addition, the solar panels feature two output ports, helping you directly power two small appliances.


Compatible with

Conversion Efficiency

Input & Output Ports


Jackery SolarSaga 100W Solar Panels

Jackery Explorer 240, 300, 500, 1000, and 1500 power stations.


USB-A Output: 5V, 2.4A

USB-C Output: 5V, 3A

- Lightweight, foldable, and IP68 waterproof rating of solar panels make them ideal for off-grid trips.

- Features a TPE rubber handle that makes it easy to carry around.

- Two output ports can help you directly charge small appliances like smartphones, etc.

Van Solar Power Options

Jackery Solar Generator is one of the most efficient ways to power appliances used in vans. Not only can it run all small and large appliances for hours, but it is also an affordable and great option for vans.

Jackery Solar Generator 3000 Pro is the ideal solution for those needing a lot of power. Equipped with a battery capacity of 3024Wh, it can provide steady power to run multiple appliances.

On the other hand, Jackery Solar Generator 2000 Pro can power 96% of outdoor appliances with a 2160Wh battery capacity.

van solar power options

Finally, the Jackery Solar Generator 1500 Pro is a reliable charging solution featuring a 1512Wh battery. Immense power is now ready at your fingertips. The Explorer 1500 Pro features the Dual PD100W design, three 1800W AC charging ports, two USB-C charging ports and one car charger, allowing for fast charging of all household devices and gadgets thinkable.

Van Solar Panels FAQs

How many solar panels do I need for my van?

You’ll need to understand how much power your van uses to calculate the number of solar panels. For instance, if your van requires 800 or 1000 watts of power, you’ll need 4-5 solar panels of 200 watts.

However, adding multiple panels is cumbersome, especially in a van. Therefore, you can combine Jackery Explorer 1000 Pro Portable Power Station (or higher capacity product) with 1 or 2 SolarSaga 200W Solar Panels to produce the same power.

How to make my van solar panels more efficient?

Some simple ways to improve the efficiency of solar panels include:

  • Regularly cleaning the upper surface of solar panels to ensure they convert maximum sunlight.
  • Adjust the face of solar panels towards the direct sunlight.
  • Place the solar panels away from the shade to produce more energy.

Is solar worth it in a van?

In short, yes. Converting your van into a solar-powered van will help you enjoy your outdoor adventures with peace of mind. Jackery Solar Generators are powerful, robust solutions that provide clean and renewable energy. You can calculate the right size of the solar generator according to your power needs.

Final Thoughts

Van solar panels and power stations are ideal for keeping your gear charged during outdoor activities. If you want to choose high-quality solar panels for vans, RVs, and campers, consider Jackery SolarSaga Solar Panels. You can connect the portable solar panels to the power station to charge devices using steady and continuous electricity.

For instance, you can invest in Jackery Solar Generator 1500 Pro if you have low power requirements. On the other hand, Jackery Solar Generator 3000 Pro is the ultimate power solution for those looking to power a large vehicle. Sign up for the Jackery newsletter to get exclusive deals and promotional offers and learn more about our products.