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Why Install Solar on a Van?

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I think its pretty safe to say that all of us have a favorite blog; that one that can capture your attention and keep you reading for hours on end. Some of us like tech blogs, while others like travel or cooking. The list is essentially endless. If you’ve been browsing around for a new read, chances are you’ve encountered a travel van blog. Travel vans are especially popular with our millennial customers, particularly those recently out of college or looking for a great (long term) adventure. Vans don’t have plumbing, depend on the power grid, or require a hefty up front investment as RVs and campers do. All of these factors make vans an affordable and fun way to become a modern adventurer.

With a van, you can go just about anywhere. Uneven gravel roads? Usually not a problem. No electric or water hookups? No problem. Low lying bridges and remote back roads? No problem. Better gas mileage? In most cases, yes. You get the picture. Van travel comes with a lot more freedom than an RV or camper that has to be hauled with a truck or large SUV. Of course, with all the convenience comes a little inconvenience: a van battery can only last so long, which limits the use of electronics while the van is parked overnight or for a weekend. This could put a serious damper on what would otherwise be a great road trip.

If, like most bloggers you enjoy using your electronics while parked or during the idle hours before bedtime, you’ll need something extra to keep things charged. By charged, we mean in full operation until at least sunrise. That’s where solar comes in. Solar is perfect for van travel because it makes the freedom more convenient than ever before. As previously stated, one of the big advantages of van travel is that no RV electric hookups are involved; however, RVs and campers often have back up generators or room for portable generators. Vans do not. Solar can help close the gap between the two modes of adventure travel.

Like an RV or camper, a van rooftop can generally hold a few 100W solar panels without issue. When adding more you may run into some space issues, so proceed cautiously. The solar panels can easily be mounted with aluminum Z Brackets, which are small, lightweight mounting pieces that are designed for use with Renogy off-grid panels. Van travelers will also need to store a few extra batteries, which should only take up a few feet of space. Last but not least, van customers must create a clear mounting area for the charge controller (which is also quite small).

Some prefer to avoid drilling holes in their van roof altogether. This would make the convenience of Z Brackets off-limits. These customers must instead store the panels, batteries, and mounts somewhere in the van. This method may be better for weekend or weeklong parking, as it will require some additional setup. However, once parked, it may only take about an hour to put together a ground mount system. Of course, it is important to place the panels in direct sunlight and away from any obstructions.

In short, van travel is becoming a popular pastime. Regardless of your reason for the van adventure, chances are you’d like to keep some of your most important electronic devices charged (even if just for safety). Solar panels are a completely renewable, clean, and quiet mode of keeping those electronics charged. In this day and age when the parks are placing noise restrictions on campers (and van-goers), solar panels are a great travel companion. For more information on purchasing a system compatible with your van and power needs, please contact our sales department. If you’d like to see how other van-goers are using Renogy solar panels, please visit our Powered by Renogy page at https://www.renogy.com/powered-by-renogy/


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