This guide for a basic 200 watt solar setup is good as a template for planning your electrical system. It covers the parts and acts as a visual reference for how things are connected. For important information on calculating electricity and individual component choices, explore our electrical page. In particular, read our post on wiring your campervan before purchasing anything. Just like baking a cake, it’s good practice to be familiar with all of the steps before diving in.
200 Watts is enough to power small electronics such as cell phones, lights, and vent fan as well as a couple of larger items such as laptops and a refrigerator. Keep in mind that if you plan on wiring in an alternator or generator the system layout changes a bit. It’s better to plan for them at the beginning than try to add them in later.
Electricity is a serious task to take on. There are many examples of things online that “can” be done but should not, so consume Youtube instructions and articles such as this one with caution. It is always a good idea to consult with experts before you buy expensive parts to make sure the way you are planning on using it will be safe.
|200W Solar Installation Parts*||Size||Quantity|
|Polycrystalline Solar Panel||100 Watt||2|
|Solar Panel Roof Mounting Z-Rack||-||Optional (2)|
|Solar Panel Adjustable Tilt Mount||-||Optional (2)|
|MPPT Charge Controller||20A||1|
|AGM Deep Cycle Battery||150AH||1|
|Pure Sine Inverter||400W||1|
|10 Way Fuse Block||-||1|
|Battery Terminal Connectors||-||1|
|Chassis Ground Wire||2AWG||1|
|Electrical Wire Crimp Connector Assortment Kit||-||1|
Total Cost of a DIY 200 Watt Solar Panel Kit:
When choosing to buy just the basics, you can expect to spend about $800 on a 200 Watt solar kit including everything except the wires themselves (this can vary depending on how much wire and how many devices you’re using).
If you want to save some time, Renogy offers a partial solar kit with MPPT controller. Renogy pricing is usually quite good for the convenience that it offers if they have a kit that matches your needs.
You can also buy a solar suitcase with charge controller. This is portable and would not attach to the roof. With this suitcase you would need to purchase an inverter, fuse block and batteries.
Alternatively, a Goal Zero Yeti kit can be purchased and includes everything except the solar panel mounting hardware. This would be the equivalent of a 100Watt solar suitcase paired with a 100Ah AGM battery and 1200 Watt inverter. Our estimate that the DIY pieces separately for this would be easily under $1000.