Solar charging is most commonly used to keep a campervan's leisure battery topped up or to charge both the leisure and main vehicle batteries at the same time. This is useful when camping and also for vans that are sat idle for long periods of time.


Big V Kampers installs solar charging systems from Photonic Universe, one of the UK's leading solar specialists, who offer the following advice on how to choose the right solar charging system for you:

Different types of solar panels


The market for solar panels is expanding rapidly. Every year, new panels are being created that increase the efficiency and maximise the energy output of your solar system.


The two main players are monocrystalline and polycrystalline. These are the names given to how the solar cells are manufactured using different structures of crystals. The panels themselves look very different and can be either rigid or flexible.




• Mould and attach to any surface

• Can be walked on without damage

• Waterproof and salt water-resistant




• Strong aluminium frame

• 4 mounting holes for installation

• Waterproof and salt water-resistant

What size solar panel?



When it comes to solar panels, size does matter. Whether you are intending to power all the appliances in your motorhome or simply want to top-up your leisure battery, the number of solar panels and the size (in Watts) will be important. The table below is a quick and easy guide to gauge the size of a solar panel required for everyday appliances in your vehicle (appliances include: 5 LED lights, small TV, hot water pump, gas-fired & electric fridge, 300W inverter charging two or three appliances, 600W inverter charging four appliances).


(This is a rough guide only, please speak to us at Big V Kampers for specific advice.)

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Tips for getting the maximum energy out of your new solar kit



The most common complaints about solar panels are that they are too expensive, do not work all the time, or do not create enough electricity when it is required. These points are all valid when the incorrect solar power system is purchased. For example, a trickle-charge solar power kit will not create enough power to top-up a battery that is constantly powering large electrical appliances all year round. This small mistake becomes an expensive one if a larger solar kit is needed instead.

There are several easy ways to get the most out of your purchase and increase the electricity potential:

  • The Sun - Solar panels require bright, direct sunlight to be able to produce the maximum amount of electricity

  • Position outside - This may seem straightforward, but positioning solar panels behind windows can reduce the output of the solar panel by up to 50%

  • Reduce inefficiencies - Shortening the length of cable, buying a better controller or enlarging your battery capacity are all ways of generating more power

  • Take your time - Do some research and follow this guide so that you will have a better idea of the best system for your specific needs.