VAN CONVERSION SOLAR & ELECTRICAL DETAILS
One of the coolest things about vanlife is the ability to use solar power to power everything in your van. We upgraded our electrical system from our last van so that we could run our 2.5 gallon water heater without any issues. This system runs everything in our van great! We do turn off our inverter at night so that the hot water heater is not running when we don’t need it, so we highly recommend getting a switch for your inverter so it’s easy to switch off at night!
SOLAR PANELS & BATTERIES
We have three 100 watt solar panels by Renogy that are mounted to our Aluminess Roof Rack with their solar mounts. This is a great way to mount solar panels without damaging the roof.
Our batteries are 100 amp hour Lithium Ion Batteries from Battle Born - we have 3 for a total 300 amp hour battery bank. The great thing about lithium batteries is that they do not need to be vented and they are 100% usable. Most batteries (like AGM batteries) are only half usable - meaning if you have a 100 amp hour battery, you can only use half aka 50 amp hours without damaging the lifespan of the battery.
INVERTER & INVERTER DIGITAL MULTICONTROL SWITCH
We have a Victron 3000 Watt Inverter Charger. This inverter is a big upgrade from most and can handle higher energy draws like a hot water heater. The other great thing about this inverter is that it is a Charger Inverter so you can use it as shore power to charge your batteries.
Like mentioned earlier, we have an Inverter Remote Switch so that we can turn off our Inverter every night. We do this so that our hot water heater isn’t running and pulling power when we don’t need it. This just controls the 110 power, so everything else that is 12V (lights, fridge, switches, etc) works just fine.
BATTERY MONITOR & SOLAR CHARGE CONTROLLER
Two other essentials are a Battery Monitor and Solar Charge Controller. Your Solar Charge Controller is what actually charges your batteries! Basically it communicates between the solar panels on your roof and your battery bank.
Last but not least is our lighting! We have a Marine 12V Switch & Charge Panel - we used a 4 toggle switch panel. 2 toggles control our recessed LED Rope Lighting and 2 toggle control our water pumps. It comes with 2 built-in USB ports and a 12v port - the USB ports are great for charging our phones at night.
Next we have these Dimmable 12V LED Recessed Lighting - We love the fact that these are dimmable because they are really bright! We had to go to another site to find a 12V Dimmable switch but it was well worth it.
And then we have these 12 volt Color LED Rope Lights. We used these in the toe kick at the floor in the kitchen, which is great for ambient lighting at night time.
LOOKING FOR AN ELECTRICAL DIAGRAM?
Check out our Van Layout Guide for our electrical diagram, plumbing diagram and full 3D renderings of our van.