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450 Watt Van Solar Power Setup

This guide for a basic 450 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.

450 Watts is enough to power small electronics such as laptops and cell phones as well as larger items such as TV’s, refrigerators, vent fans and possibly an induction cooktop. 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.

Want a different amount of solar? We also have guides on a 100 Watt solar system and a 200 Watt solar system.

400W Solar Installation Parts*SizeQuantity
Monocrystalline Solar Panel150 Watt3
Solar Panel Roof Mounting Z-Rack-Optional (3)
Solar Panel Adjustable Tilt Mount-Optional (3)
MPPT Charge Controller60A1
AGM Deep Cycle Battery150AH2
Pure Sine Inverter1000W1
12 Way Fuse Block (bus bar included)-1
Bus Bar-1
Battery Terminal Connectors-2
Electrical Wire Crimp Connector Assortment Kit-1
Fuse Holder80A2
Fuse Holder100A1
Battery Connect Cables12in3

*Not included are the wiring and small fuses needed as those vary between installs and can be bought at a hardware store.

400 Watt solar panel setup guide

Total Cost of a DIY 450 Watt Solar Panel Kit:

When choosing to buy just the basics, you can expect to spend around $2000 on a 450 Watt solar kit including everything except the wires themselves (this can vary depending on how much wire and how many devices you’re using).

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.

This Post Has 15 Comments
  1. Thank you. This information is so helpful. I’m starting handy man service out of my van.
    So I need to run equipment from the van. I will tell me friend’s about this also.
    Great information.

  2. I had a very similar setup on our boat. We ended up with LiFePo battery of 500AH. Only problem I had was noted by you when you mentioned that the MPPT controller had to be customized to charge LiFePo batteries. The engine charger took care of it when the battery finally needed to be topped up properly.
    Your poster *sub note shows a battery bank of 3000 Ah and I believe you may have intended 300 Ah.
    I hope to build a new system for our fifth wheel, but that is not a priority at this time.

  3. Hi, Awesome source of information, love the diagram. I was starting to feel a little overwhelmed trying to plan out my own set up so I’m glad I found this page haha. I am planning to hook up the cars alternator so it charges when I drive. Where would that fit into this set up?

  4. Ever thought of writing a book? I’d buy a copy and I’m sure many others would as well. Jeff and Rhiannon’s comments are spot on; awesome source of helpful information.

  5. I think the battery wired in series specs are incorrect. You state that adding two 6 volt 300 AH batteries in series will make one 12 v 3000AH. You have one two many zeros.

  6. unusable….. help to make 400w of load, runs 24hours, sun production timing 10 hours, batteries should full in 10 hours and load will constantly run 24 hours day and night. during day time, load will run as well as batteries may full to provide 14 hours of backup during night to consume 400w of load..

    anyone ????

    1. Vrai inutile d avoir un tonneau de vin si personne ne boit le solaire à besoin d être utilisé utilisé par ciel d hiver il faut 400w l été divisé par 2 de plus trop chaud il diminue sa puissance de charge

  7. great info. looking to follow this info. do you have instructions for how to add a portable generator into the equation. thanks again.

    1. Pour le froid et période temps sombre il faut plus frigo à compression plus télé lumière recharge d appareils si le vent est dans le secteur une éolienne fera affaire j ai cette installation mixte sur mon camping car

  8. Good guide. One thing you omitted that a lot of RV solar folks HIGHLY recommend is a battery monitor. These usually have a shunt that goes between the battery and all the loads to measure current in and out of the battery. The Bogart Trimetric 2030 is highly regarded, and Victron also has a few models.

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