How much solar do I need on my sprinter van? Not As Much As You Have Heard!
The question, "how much solar do I need on my sprinter van?", is asked many times a day. Some DIY van builders will flat out give up and opt to add a generator or buy a long extension cord. This is not necessary and you don't need your entire roof to be covered in solar panels. Start with a basic solar system to charge your batteries or goal zero yeti. If you are constantly running low on power add more but don't buy more than what you need.
A simple 60-watt solar panel or 80 watt solar panel will be perfectly fine if you need to keep your single or dual house batteries charged when using interior van LED lights and charging smaller devices like iPhones. For example, a 60-watt solar panel will charge a common RV/Marine battery from 50% to full in 4 to 6 hours. When building a small system like this, PWM controllers, which are the least expensive are the way to go. A simple 7 amp solar controller will efficiently regulate up to 150 watts of solar panels.
If you are going to keep a small fridge or Dometic powered cooler cold, a fan circulating air, and a couple of outlets powered to charge computers or drone batteries it is time to step up to between 120 watts and 200 watts of solar power. This is still considered a small system and does not require spending more money on an MPPT controller. The PWM Zamp 15 Amp Solar Controller will work perfectly and will accommodate up to 250 watts of solar power on the roof. The other nice feature of this less expensive solar system controller is the fact it has Lead Acid, AGM, and Lithium charging profiles which will future proof your energy storage. Just in case we see van lithium battery prices go down. Don't hold your breath.
We tend to opt for a more affordable approach when designing sprinter van solar kits. We don't want to see van owners wasting money on giant systems they do not need. We want to see our customers enjoying the solar products they buy from us.