Portable or Mounted solar?

Okay, lets talk solar. Other than a concern about space restrictions, I’m not seeing a lot of drawbacks about portable solar. I’m curious if other people have considered, or are currently using, a portable solar set up rather than one mounted to the top of their vehicle?


I have to get my solar setup as well (on a Vanagon hightop), unfortunately the space on top currently is not much due to two top windows that won’t leave much space to a panel. I only have the little top roof on the front (about a 1/3) if the whole roof that can fit a medium-small panel.
I think I’ll go for something flexible and a bit more expensivene to have high performance in a small panel. I’ve considered mobile, but I’d rather come up with a lock/unlock system for my roof mount than having one more thing to move around in the van. Space is gold inside and anything that can stay out should stay out.

I’m not sure what panel to mount yet tho, any suggestion for flexible panel sized ~125x65cm?



Hey there! We have 3 mounted on our roof, and then a 4th we keep tucked away in our trunk. We plug it in when 1) It’s really hot and we want to park in the shade or 2) When it’s been overcast for a few days and we need some additional power. It works out extremely well for us! We even built a mount we’ve attached it to out of PVC piping. We feel like this worked way better than the Renogy mounts and was way cheaper as well. Hope you find this helpful!


I’m not a solar guy, but I wanted to chime in and say that the main reason to roof mount is to get charge while driving. I’m also torn between the options as I hate parking in direct sunlight, but no charge while driving sucks too. I guess the best move is portable solar and a solenoid on the alternator.


Those are good points from everyone. We are now thinking a large roof rack, turned half roof deck, and then leaves room for a couple installed solar units. The portable unit is still an option for us, though they don’t hold as much power…hmmm.

1 Like

Hi there -

Chiming in (very) late - but I am using portable panels. I don’t have space on my roof so - it’s not really an “option” - but I am ok with it. The Delta Pro I use will charge while I am driving with the 12v/25amp cigarette lighter. I also purchased a 45 meter charging cable, so the van can be parking in the shade while the panels are positioned for sun/light.

I have a total of 800w in panels using a 3600wh battery/inverter that will charge from solar, EV, AC, and the cig lighter. They are also releasing a wind turbine that will be able to charge the Delta Pro while driving. I will also be using the Anderson connectors to wire the rest of the van through an Anderson power pole to wherever else needs electricity - a very simple approach…

I am happy with this approach and also with not having to drill additional holds in my Sprinter roof. :slight_smile: