A week off the grid on a campsite

Last week I returned home from a short summer holiday which I spent in my Vanagon Camper (RV) in Łeba, a town on the Baltic Sea coast. As I own two solar panels (40 Wp each) and two gel batteries, I decided not to pay for the electrical connection and use my own power.

The prices for using the grid on the campsites in Poland are extreme. From your point of view probably it’s as cheap as everything here (10-15 PLN per day = $3-5 / day = 2.5-3.7€/day), but if you compare that price to the price of energy (0.5 PLN/kWh) it’s not worth it.

On the other hand, since I paid for the solar panels only about 900 PLN, this investment pays for itself after 60-90 days on the campsite, which is in my case equivalent to roughly 4-6 years of camping holidays. Of course that doesn’t take into account the batteries, charge controller and wiring that is not free either.

The weather on my holiday was poor. We had only one day without rain, and one day when it was raining all the time. In most cases we had slight rain in the morning and a little bit of sunrise in the evening.

As you probably imagine, the amount of solar power generated was small. Because of that, on one of the last days of our stay there, the charge controller started to warn me that the batteries are almost completely discharged. As you can see on the following photo, the solar charge controller also knows when the sun is shining, but on that moment the amount of current produced by the solar cells was almost negligible.

Od Volkswagen Transporter T3

It’s not enough to have solar panels installed, you also need to have them in place where you get enough sunlight. On the campsite we had no choice where to place our RV, so the sunlight was limited.

I will provide you with more details about my solar setup in near future.


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