To run a van with solar panels, you need a charger controller along with other necessary things. There is no exact answer to this question: how many solar panels do I need for a van? Based on the appliances on the van, you need to determine how many of you need it.

You can’t just count the exact number of solar panels for running the van. But yes, you can calculate the total watts of the electronic device that is used in a van. Watt’s calculation will give you the idea of how many you need. You may cover up the whole van with only two solar panels, again you may need 4/5 solar panels. 

Can you put solar panels on a van?

 Normally, we use solar panels on those vans that are mostly used for traveling. Some people prepare a van and go out for a tour for a long period of time. So, they carry everything that is necessary for a daily basis. Such as coffee maker, laptop, radio, lights, and many more things. 


To charge everything from a battery or inverter is a little much costly. That is why people are now using solar panels in a van. The top benefit of using the solar panels on the van is, you don’t have to worry about finishing the fuel or energy. Because the solar panels consume energy from the sun and then it converts the energy into the battery or inverter.

You will find the sun everywhere except in the rainy season sometimes. So, this will not be a big problem for those, they want to travel for longer periods of time. They can easily hire a van and set the solar panels on the van. 

How many solar panels do I need for a van?

To run the appliances or use it during a road trip on a van, you need to use the power of electricity that comes from the battery. Using batteries during road trips is costly and a little bit tough to maintain. That is why people find out an alternative way to minimize the cost. And that is why now they use solar panels on the van. But how many solar panels you need, and which appliances you can use for how long will be is not clear to all. This is why this part of the article will give you the idea.

Instead of how many solar panels do I need for a van, the amount counts through the watts. There are many options for the watts like 100, 170,225, 335, etc. and many more. How many appliances will you use and how many amps will be needed per day will determine how much watts will be used daily. Based on the uses, sometimes you will only need two solar panels. Again, if you have so many appliances that need so much an amp-like microwave or fridge, then you may need more solar panels.

Another fact is, instead of 1 solar panel with high capacity, if you choose two solar panels it will consume the energy quickly and your battery will be charged more than before. For example, if you need 300 watts to use, you can buy one panel that will work. But it will be better if you choose three panels or two to provide the same number of watts. This way your battery will get better service and the backup will also be good. Below we will give you a short combo list of battery and solar panels. So, your concept will be clear.

Battery Power (AGM) Solar Panel (Watt) Solar Panel (Amount)
100 Ah 175 2
200 Ah 175 3
200 Ah 300 2
300 Ah 175 4
300 Ah 300 2
400 Ah 175 5
400 Ah 300 3
500 Ah 175 6
500 Ah 300 4
600 Ah 175 7
600 Ah 300 4

This table is calculated based on a lithium battery’s performance. This table shows how many solar panels you need to use when you get an amount of ampere per hour from a lithium battery.

How do you set up a solar system for a van?

You will not find the direct answer or appropriate answer to this question that is how can you set up the solar system. After a lot of research here we gathered the information for you. With very few lines we tried to give you the solution of setting up the solar system. Have a look at the answer. 

To set up the solar panels on a Van you must need some equipment. Those are solar kits, battery, charge controller, inverter, switch, fuse box, lights, some wires, and connectors with switches. After gathering all the tools and equipment, now you can proceed to set up the panels on the van. 

Choose the solar panel wisely, that can deliver the number of watts you need. Based on the watts you can easily determine how much you need in the van. Then, connect the charger controller which is the heart of the panel. One side of the controller will connect with the panels and the other side will be connected with the battery. This battery will deliver the energy on to the inverter which will be delivered to other machinery like lights, computers, laptops, refrigerators, etc. 

How do solar panels work in a van?

The process of working the solar panels on the van is very simple. At first, it consumes the energy from the sun. The more energy it consumes, the more electricity your battery will get. After getting the energy, it will store on the charger controller and it will convert all the energy to the battery or in the inverter. Then, you can easily run the electronic device that you want to use in the van.

Final thought

Using a solar panel on a van has so many advantages. Because of its lightweight with low-cost maintenance, this panel captures the market easily. I am sure you get the appropriate answer to the question of how many solar panels do I need for a van? 

Though the answer is not given directly, because the whole process is calculated by the use of the appliances. The more appliances you will use with power, the more solar panels you will need. The process also depends on the battery’s capacity. So, you need to focus on overall calculation and then you can determine how many panels you need for the van. 


Hi, I am David Binion, I am a technical assistant of a solar panel manufacturing company. I also have a solar panel selling and service providing shops beside my job. Because of my job & business, I have to face so many clients of the power tool users.

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