Fitting Solar Panel To Jayco Swan (Key Steps)

Jayco manufactures a range of camping trailers, caravans, and RVs, but the Swan, in particular, is a camping trailer with a pop-up roof. This configuration can make it a little tricky when fitting a solar panel to your Jayco Swan.

Some points to consider when fitting solar panels to your Jayco Swan are as follows.

  • Can solar panels be fitted to a Jayco Swan?
  • Should your solar panels be roof-mounted or free-standing?
  • What solar gear do you need for a Jayco Swan?
  • What size solar panel is required for your Jayco Swan?

The aspect that makes a Jayco Swan different from a caravan is that it is a camping trailer with a pop-up roof and canvas walls.

The lack of solid walls on this vehicle makes installing a solar panel into the trailer a logistical challenge, but there are solutions to the problem!

Jayco Swan Camper Van In The Woods
Jayco Swan Camper Van In The Woods

Do You Need A Solar Panel On A Jayco Swan?

A Jayco Swan is a great camping option if you have a smaller towing vehicle. This camping trailer’s compact, lightweight characteristics make it easy to tow, and it comes in a Touring option for highways and an Outback option for rougher trails.

Even with their compact size, these camping trailers can sleep up to 6 people. This number of people can consume a fair bit of electricity, even on a weekend camping trip.

If you mostly frequent camping sites where electricity is supplied, adding a solar panel to your Jayco Swan is unnecessary.

However, if you are a little more of an adventurous amper and prefer your camping on the wild side where normal amenities such as electricity are not laid on by the campsite is a luxury, then fitting solar to your Jayco Swan is necessary!

But, can this be done on these types of camping trailers?

Jayco Swan Camper Van On The Road
Jayco Swan Camper Van On The Road

Can A Solar Panel Be Fitted To A Jayco Swan?

A solar panel system can be fitted to the Jayco Swan. The camping trailer manufacturer has constructed the trailer’s roof to be solar panel-ready for this option.

The manufacturers of the Jayco Swan knew that people would want to use this camping trailer off-grid and require soar panels for the camper.

A standard feature in the Jayco Swan is an integrated battery management system from which you can monitor the battery charge level and the loads the battery is carrying. You can switch devices or circuits off or on, depending on the battery charge level.

The battery management system is an app that you can run directly from your smartphone to control and monitor your Jayco Swan power usage. This app is very useful when deciding to go solar with your camper.

To give the owner options, they re-inforced the pop-up lid to handle the weight of solar panels and prepped the roof with fixtures where the solar panels can be mounted permanently.

The Jayco Swan comes configured with a single battery installed in the camper, which will power the 12-volt electrical system for a few hours, but you will need to recharge the battery for your camping trip.

If you are camping at a campground that provides electricity, the battery will be recharged by mains power when you plug into the campsite power. The equipment necessary to charge the battery in this way is already pre-installed in the camper.

Suppose you want to go solar for boondocking or visiting locations where electricity is not provided. In that case, you will need to make some modifications to your Jayco Swan and install an add-on solar system.

There are a few aspects to consider and choices to make when sizing and selecting your solar panels and equipment needed to run the camper.

Jayco Swan Camper Van In A Desert
Jayco Swan Camper Van In A Desert

Equipment To Fit A Solar Panel To A Jayco Swan

You will need a solar panel with the correct output, a solar charge controller, and possibly additional batteries to kit your Jayco Swan out for camping in the wilderness.

To go solar on your Jayco Swan, you will need some gear to achieve this goal and make some decisions on how you want your solar system configured.

You will need the following equipment to fit a solar panel to your camper.

  • A solar panel of the appropriate size and wattage.
  • A solar charge controller.
  • A Jayco solar prep kit.
  • Additional batteries

A solar panel will not work on its own on your Jayco Swan. It requires supporting gear in the form of a solar charge controller, a Jayco solar prep kit with mountings for roof or side mount solar panels, and possibly additional batteries.

The solar charge controller manages the power output from the solar panel and controls the charging of the battery to protect it from over-charging and becoming damaged.

The Jayco solar prep kit comes with fittings and mountings to mount the solar panels in various locations on your camper, as well as wiring ducts and connectors for the solar equipment.

Depending on your normal camping trip duration, you may need additional batteries for your Jayco Swan.

Typically, if your normal camping trip is on weekends or up to a 3-day trip, one battery will be sufficient.

If you generally go on longer camping trips of 7-days or more, you would need more battery capacity and solar panels to have enough power for these trips.

If longer trips are your norm, you may need between 2 and 4 batteries for your camping solar system.

Jayco Swan Camper Van Pulled On The Highway
Jayco Swan Camper Van Pulled On The Highway

What Size Solar Panel Is Best For A Jayco Swan?

If your camping trips are short, between 1 to 3-days, you will need a single 100-Watt solar panel to charge the single battery.

If you prefer longer camping trips of 7-days or more, you will need 2 x 100-Watt solar panels or a single 200-Watt solar panel to charge the additional batteries.

If you are only running a single solar battery in your Jayco Swan, a single 100-watt solar panel will be able to generate enough power on a sunny day to fully charge the battery.

If you find a single battery is not sufficient for your camping needs, you have the option to increase the number of batteries in your camper.

The Jayco Swan can take up to 4 batteries, but you will need to increase your solar panels as soon as you add the second battery.

To have two or more batteries in your Jayco Swan, you would need to install an additional 100-Watt solar panel or upgrade to a single 200-Watt panel.

The Best Location To Fit A Solar Panel To A Jayco Swan

As we have mentioned, the roof of the Jayco Swan is made ready to receive solar panels permanently mounted; however, this is hot your only option. You can also have side-mount panels or free-standing panels.

The problem with roof-mounted solar panels is that your camper will need to stand in the sun to receive direct sunlight. This could cause your camper to get very hot during the day.

Side-mount panels are an alternative, but unless they come with brackets that allow them to be angled, they are also not so effective in this position.

The best option is to use free-standing solar panels that you can position away from the Jayco Swan in the sun and angled to the correct position to maximize the use of the sun.

This allows you to make use of the sun’s energy to power your system without the need to park your Jayco Swan in the direct sunlight!


General Solar Panel FAQ

What Problems Do Solar Panels Solve?

In environmental terms, solar panels can potentially solve a handful of problems, including;
1. Air pollution
2. Water pollution
3. Greenhouse gases
4. Reduction in fossil fuel use

For individuals, solar energy allows you to become completely self-sufficient when it comes to your electricity needs and can save you a lot of money in the long run.

What Are 3 Important Uses Of Solar Panels?

The three most important uses of solar panels are;
1. Solar electricity. This can be used to power almost any appliance in your home, including TVs, computers, and fridges.
2. Lighting. In addition to the use of low-power, LED lightbulbs, solar panels can provide an efficient, low-cost, and environmentally friendly way to provide lighting to homes. 
3. Portable solar. In our modern, always-connected lives, our phones, tablets, and computers are almost always with us, and all run on batteries. Portable PV chargers can help keep our batteries topped up no matter where we are, as long as there is some sun to charge them.

Do solar panels give you free electricity?

Once the cost of the array is paid in full, the energy it produces is free. There are ongoing maintenance costs, too, such as annual panel cleaning, etc. 

How much will my electric bill be with solar panels?

Suppose your solar array includes a solar battery backup system, and it is large enough to fully cover your energy usage per day. In that case, your monthly electric bill will be next to zero dollars, even with a grid-tied system. 

If your solar array does not include a solar battery backup system, then at night, your house or business will use grid electricity. That cost will vary but expect to pay from 1/3-2/3 of your average electric bill, and that cost will fluctuate seasonally. 

Do you save money with solar panels?

The simple answer is, Yes, you save money with solar panels. There is an initial upfront cost, but since solar panels are warrantied for 25 years, you will save money over time. You will also begin to see monthly savings in energy bills, but there are other ways that solar panels pay you back. Those include:
1. Adding value to your home or commercial building 
2. Monthly decreases in energy costs
3. The ability to add more energy appliances without increased monthly costs
4. The potential for tax credits for going solar

Can solar panels power a house 24-7?

Most definitely! Solar panels can certainly power a house 24-7, with the addition of a high-quality inverter and a suitable battery bank, of course. To power, a house under normal usage will require a massive solar array, though, and there will be a very expensive initial financial outlay.

Do I need to tell my energy supplier I have solar panels?

This depends on where you live, but in most cases, it’s not necessary to inform your energy supplier that you have solar panels. That said, you may be producing excess power with your solar system, in which case you may be able to sell that excess power back to energy companies.

In this case, you’ll naturally need to be in contact with them. 

What Are Solar Cells Known as and Why?

Solar cells are also called photovoltaic (PV) cells. They are called so because the term ‘photovoltaic’ literally means light i.e. photo and electricity i.e. voltaic.

These cells generate electricity through the photovoltaic effect. This effect basically causes the generation of free electrons from the semiconducting silicon material of the solar panel when sunlight hits its surface.

What Type of Solar Panels Are Most Efficient and Why?

There are currently three types of solar panels available in the market that are:
1. Monocrystalline
2. Polycrystalline
3. Thin-filmed

Among these, monocrystalline solar panels are known to be the most efficient among all others.

Does heat enter your home through the roof?

Absolutely. Heat enters your home through your roof, and on a hot day your attic can get up to 150 degrees Fahrenheit or more. Through conduction, heat from the sun warms your roof which then warms your attic and the rest of your home.

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