Best MPPT controller(s) to use with 1800 to 2000 watts solar


#1

We are in the planning stages of doing a build out of a 22 foot step van. My Wife and I will be the only ones living in it. We are figuring our solar needs at about 1800 to 2000 watts and 2000 to 2500 AH of batteries. I have been told this is overkill, but id rather have it and not need it then need it and not have it. Plus I’m looking worse case and have best outcome on cloudy days and days with short sun cycles.

I need to know the best MPPT controller to use, will I need more then one controller?

Our goal is to be able to run two window type A/C units, electric water heater, electric cooktop, a couple computers, TV, and other common things. Then use propane as a backup for days without sun, if we run out of battery power.


#2

I don’t know much a lot solar but I posted your question on our instagram story with a link to this topic.

Hopefully we could get your question answered :blush:


#3

I’m not sure what charge controller - ask people at AM solar? But wanted to say - why not just get a Honda 2000w generator as backup? They’re made for this sort of thing and are super efficient.


#4

Yes, a generator is in our plans as well, as well as wind power (rule of three’s) :wink:

thanks!

  • Jerry

#5

I guarantee your needs don’t call for anything close to 2000w of solar. That is way overkill, max 1000ah battery bank, with 300-500w solar, then carry a 2000w gas generator with you(Honda iu2000), build a shore power outlet 120v into the van. Also an engine battery isolator wired to charge your house battery’s when driving or idling.

2000w of solar would cost $3,600 (minimum) in just panels, $200 for a decent MMPT charge controller, $800-$3,000 for a good inverter to properly manage all of it, and a minimum of $4,000 in batteries (AGM) and around $20,000 ($1k per 100ah) of a good lithium ion battery, you don’t want the solar system to significantly exceed the value of the vehicle you’re building on.

Full blown expedition campers, and blue water sailing yachts don’t even have 2kw solar systems, Max I’ve seen is 1.3kw- 1,300w on a 38’ MAN KAT 8x8. Fitting that many panels on a 22’ van would be very interesting as each 100w panel usually measures at about 48"x20" and out of 2000w solar system the maximum you’d ever see is about 1400-1600w.


#6

Also AC units that are actually worth getting for vans that can run off 12v dc and are efficient to run off only a battery bank cost around $3,000 a pop. Window AC units wouldn’t be practical by any means, unless you were constantly hooked up to the generator or shore power. Apologies for sort of crushing your tech van idea, but I’m just letting you know what the reality would be.


#7

Go to jimindenver.com and ask Jim, who is a solar systems designer/ installer for mobile applications. He knows solar inside and out. Also check his YouTube channel Solar Boondocker. He will help you.


#8

You can use 4 *100 w solar panels and add a portable solar generator. The price is around $1,500. It’s more convenient to go with fold able solar panels, which are easy to get around and just hang out there. You can enjoy more van life.