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Bug Out Vehicle Solar Panels

Solar Panels Survival Van
Solar Panels Survival Van

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After thinking your survival vehicle was fully prepared to satisfy all your survival needs, you forgot to account for a renewable source of power that can charge your car battery and appliances. Solar panels are one of the most critical components of your vehicle, but you need to pick the right ones for a survival situation. Here are some tips for choosing the best bug out vehicle solar panels.

Why You Need Solar Panels for Your Bug-Out Vehicle

In an emergency event, non-renewable energy sources, such as gas and electricity, will be scarce — if not completely unavailable. However, installing solar panels on your bug-out vehicle will provide you with a renewable source of power that you can tap into in the foreseeable future.

Solar panels can provide energy to a whole host of critical vehicle functions such as charging and maintaining the battery. In addition, the panels can also provide power to appliances and electronics such as kettles and radios. While others might be scavenging to find gas or electricity sources, you will have peace of mind knowing that you have a renewable power source for your family.

How Many Solar Panels Do You Need For Survival?

This is one of the most common questions asked by Car Preppers. You might think you need to cover your bug-out vehicle in solar panels completely, but this isn’t always the case. This is because you measure solar panels in watts. For example, you can buy 100-watt solar panels and 400-watt solar panels, and these are exactly the same size. As a general rule, a 400-watt solar panel generates more solar energy than a 100-watt solar panel and will be more expensive.

The average size of solar panels used in a vehicle rooftop solar installation is around 65 inches by 39 inches. This means an average bug-out vehicle can hold five or six panels on the roof, depending on the configuration.

The next most common question is: “How many solar panels do you need to charge my battery?” Again, it all depends. A lithium battery usually holds around 1280 watts of power. To generate this amount of power in six hours (the average number of hours of sunlight in the continental United States), you will need around 200 watts of solar panels. However, this is only part of the story. In cloudy conditions, you will need much more power to charge your battery because of less sunlight.

You will need to calculate the needs for your vehicle and prepare for any unforeseen circumstances. This solar power usage calculator can help.

Places to Mount Bug Out Vehicle Solar Panels

Bug out vehicle solar panel


There are many options when it comes to choosing where to install the panels. The most common configuration is to mount the solar panels on the roof of the vehicle, as this provides the most direct and consistent sunlight access to the panels.

You may want to consider building a flat compartmental structure on the roof, similar to a bedroom drawer, which allows you to mount the panels on top while using the inside of the structure as a storage compartment. Another popular option is to keep the solar panels stored inside until energy is needed. Then you can simply bring it outside and place it on a flat surface while it’s still physically connected to the power inverter.

What Are The Common Types of Bug Out Vehicle Solar Panels?

The majority of solar panels used by preppers today are made from some form of silicon.

  • Mono-crystalline solar panels have higher efficiency rates because of their high-grade silicon.
  • Poly-crystalline solar panels, on the other hand, cost less but have a slightly lower heat tolerance.
  • Thin-film solar panels are less energy-efficient but have a homogeneous, flat design that makes them appealing.

It’s also important to consider if you will use a bendable solar panel or a non-bendable solar panel. Also, if you are in an environment such as a desert, make sure your solar panel is designed to withstand a tremendous amount of intense direct sunlight.

Click here to find out more about the best vehicle solar panels on the market.

How Much Will It All Cost?

Prices fluctuate based on various factors, but 300-watt solar panels designed for bug-out vehicles can cost as little as $300. However, you will need to factor in the cost of installation, as well as other components of your solar energy system, such as a solar inverter, which directs energy from the panels and turn it into alternating energy. Don’t forget to add one of these to your solar energy checklist.

The best power inverters have a low power consumption. If you are short on space in your bug-out vehicle, choose a compact design.

Sure, the cost is one consideration when choosing solar panels. But you can’t put a price on your family’s safety. You can’t predict the future, but you can certainly prepare for it. Follow the above tips when choosing prepper van solar panels so you can meet your renewable energy needs in a disaster.

The name Rugged Man was born out of a bet gone horribly wrong, however, the name stuck. Technology nerd by day, and survival enthusiast by night, he is committed to helping thousands of everyday people become more educated about topics such as Prepping, Survival, and Bug Out Strategies.

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