Your power needs are an important issue to be addressed before you start your van dwelling. If you are going to live in a van, you will need electricity for lights, television and many other things. Since the whole point of living in a van is to remove dependencies, the best option is solar power. It is a onetime investment which powers your entire van with clean and renewable energy. It is going to take some effort setting up the solar power system but once done it will feel like a milestone.
Getting Solar Panels
You first need to determine how many solar panels you need for your van. It depends on how much energy you will be consuming. Generally speaking, a solar panel appropriate for a van would have maximum output of 285 Watts which will give you approximately 1140 Watts in an hour. It should be enough to support basic electrical devices like lights, a small fan or for charging your phone.
Although installing solar panels is not a very complex task, it is recommended that you get a professional help to do that. Usually the people who sell you the panels will fix them for you and you can also consult them about your energy needs as to how many panels you need. The important thing to remember here is that you are putting them on a van, so the less you have the better.
Strong and Secure Installation is Absolutely Important
The installation process is no different for a van but the panels need to be strongly installed and fastened to the roof. Unlike a normal house, a van moves a lot and there remains the danger of a panel loosening and falling. You should have an extra rail installed to make sure panels stay in place even when you are driving through bumpy roads.
Type of Panels
For consistent performance and power supply from the panels, you should go for monocrystalline panels. These work efficiently across different temperatures and intensities of sunlight. This is good for your van because it will be moving through different areas with different solar scenarios. You will not have to worry about driving into not so sunny places.
Use Energy Wisely
Once the solar panels are successfully installed, check everything and test running your appliances for some time so as to make sure everything works fine. Always take care of the solar panels and maintain them as they can run for a very long time. Although these panels may seem costly, the long term benefit is totally worth it. And besides it is a much better and environment friendly power solution as compared with other energy options.
As part of your van dwelling experience, try to consume electricity only when you need it. That is the whole philosophy behind living in a van: to spend and consume minimally and responsibly. Now you can proudly say that you are going green with your tiny van and using renewable energy.