Fitting a solar panel. Where do I start?

fitting a solar panel

Independence from the mains hook-up

Fitting a solar panel is a great way to enhance your motorhome, boating or caravan experience. Solar panels are a reliable source of free energy and will reduce your dependence on mains connections or shore-supplies.

So how do you start? What parts do you need?

Choosing and fitting a solar panel is very straightforward. We will take you through the process of selecting the best solar panel and components for your installation.

 

But first…….

Fitting a solar panel: Should you use a professional installer?

Should you use a professional installer or fit the system yourself? If you have good DIY skills, and a little time, you will find fitting a solar panel system very straightforward. We will assist you throughout the process.

If you want to use a professional installer, please contact us. We will recommend a reputable company in your area.

What is the best way to fit a solar panel?

solar panel kit for narrowboats

SunWorks 200 watt solar panel kit. For charging engine and leisure batteries.

If this is your first time, we recommend that you use a SunWorks solar panel kit. Our kits contain the basics for an efficient and reliable installation. The kits contain step by step, illustrated instructions that will guide you through the installation.

If you are comfortable with choosing all of the components for your solar panel system, feel free to browse through our wide range of solar panels and accessories.

SunWorks solar panel kits. What’s included?

All our kits contain one or more solar panels. Also included is a SunWorks LCD charge controller and the appropriate cables. It is essential that you install the correct charge controller and use the right cables. We have chosen the most suitable types to go with the solar panel.

Step by step instructions with clear illustrations are included with all our kits. On top of that, we are always here to help. Contact us and we will be pleased to assist.

That’s the hard part done! Now skip ahead to the motorhome, boat or caravan section:

If you are fitting a solar panel to a motorhome:

fitting a solar panel

Rigid solar panels on a motorhome

Select a kit from our range of rigid panel or semi-flexible panel kits. Our rigid aluminium framed solar panels are chosen for their efficiency and robust construction. Fit them with confidence to the roof of your motorhome. For example, our 150-UNO kit contains a 150 watt solar panel and a matching SunWorks SB1C charge controller. We also provide plenty of solar cable with the connectors already fitted.

FLEX kits contain semi-flexible solar panels that are lightweight and can follow the contours of your motorhome’s roof. For example, our 100-UNO-FLEX kit contains a SunWorks semi-flexible 100 watt solar panel and a matching SunWorks SB1C charge controller. Connectors and lots of solar cable are provided as standard.

Now decide which size of solar panel you need. Click here.

If you are fitting a solar panel to a boat:

Choose from our range of rigid panel kits or semi-flexible panel kits. Our rigid aluminium framed solar panels are robust and efficient. Fit them with confidence to the deck of your boat. You can also mount them on a frame or on a boats pushpit.

fitting a solar panel

Solar panels on a narrowboat

For example, our 100-UNO kit contains a 100 watt solar panel and a matching SunWorks SB1C charge controller. Connectors and lots of solar cable are provided as standard.

FLEX kits contain semi-flexible solar panels that are lightweight and can follow the contours of your deck. They can also be Velcro-ed or tied to a spray-hood or bimini top. Keep them away from busy deck areas and they will provide years of great service.

For example, our 50-UNO-FLEX kit contains a SunWorks 50 watt solar panel and a matching SunWorks SB1C charge controller. We also provide plenty of solar cable with the connectors already fitted.

solar panels for boats

Solar panels on a sailing boat

For boats that experience tough weather conditions, take a look at the Solara range of marine solar panels. Unlike the SunWorks FLEX panels, these marine quality solar panels can be walked on.

Contact us for more details regarding these exceptional solar panels. We can also advise the correct charge controllers and cables for your marine installation.

Now decide which size of solar panel you need. Click here.

If you are fitting a solar panel to a caravan:

caravan solar panels

Portable solar panel for a caravan or motorhome

Choose from our range of semi-flexible kits. FLEX kits contain semi-flexible solar panels that are lightweight and can follow the contours of your caravan roof. For example, our 100-UNO-FLEX kit contains a SunWorks 100 watt solar panel and a matching SunWorks SB1C charge controller. We also provide plenty of solar cable with the connectors already fitted.

You may also be interested in our portable solar panels. These solar panels have a strong aluminium fold-out frame and a long cable to attach to your battery. Simply take it outside when you want to charge your battery.

Click for more details about fitting a solar panel to your caravan.

Now decide which size of solar panel you need.

What size solar panel do I need?

Solar panels come in many shapes and sizes. To simply trickle charge your engine or service battery we suggest you use a minimum of 30 watts.

Solar panels for narrowboats

Solar panels on adjustable mountings

Most owners will want much more power so we recommend a panel of at least 50 watts on a yacht or caravan, and at least 100 watts on a motorhome or narrowboat. This will provide a good everyday charge and will keep your battery in good order. During the summer months in the UK these panels will provide a lot of extra power and reduce the need for a mains connection.

Total independence on a medium size motorhome requires a solar panel of about 150 watts.

For a larger motorhome or a narrowboat consider installing 200 watts. It is easier to fit two 100 watt panels than a single 200 watt panel.

Can I charge both my engine battery and my leisure battery from one solar panel?

fitting a solar panel

DB1C dual battery controller

Of course! SunWorks produced the Worlds first dual battery charge controller and this has been the industry standard ever since. Our DB1C and DB2C  charge controllers were specifically designed for the control of solar panels for motorhomes and boats. They are efficient, stylish and will charge both your engine and leisure batteries from the same solar panel.

These dual battery charge controllers are also included in the SunWorks DUO kits. For example, the 100-DUO kit contains a 100 watt rigid solar panel and matching SunWorks DB1C charge controller.

The 100-DUO-FLEX kit is similar but with a semi-flexible solar panel.

Can I extend my existing system?

If you already have a solar panel and you want to increase your power independence, it is usually possible to add another solar panel to your existing system. The additional solar panel is added alongside your existing panel and connected in parallel. That’s positive to positive, and negative to negative. Make sure that your cables and controller can handle the additional power.

Please contact us to discuss the best way to extend your system.

Why buy a solar panel system from SunWorks?

If you are considering solar panels for a motorhome, boat or caravan, SunWorks solar products provide the perfect solution. We have been involved in solar energy for over 25 years and can offer help and advice whenever you need it.

SunWorks solar panel systems. The benefits:

  • Fully automatic. No settings to worry about.
  • Selected to suit the requirements of motorhome, boat and caravan owners.
  • Charge your leisure batteries, engine batteries or both from the same solar panel.
  • Full battery protection and maximum charge. Look after those expensive batteries.
  • Very reliable. Our first motorhome and boat systems were installed in 2002 and are still working well.
  • Easy to install. Our controller design allows all your wiring and cables to be hidden from view.
  • Efficient.  SunWorks charge controllers work well in all light conditions.
  • Attractive. Bright, informative LCD displays keep you informed. Compact, easy to use, and with a choice of controller colour.
  • We only use solar panels built from the most reliable and efficient monocrystalline technology available.
  • We never compromise on material and manufacturing quality.

Our continued development program ensures that your solar energy system will give uninterrupted service for many years to come.

Please take a look at our Solar Products Shop. There you will find everything you need for your solar panel installation. Alternatively, contact us for more information: