Van build weekend #7 : Solar panels and walls

Hello fellow reader!

Last weekend was thanksgiving and we are very thankful for the progress we made on the van.

We tackled 2 big things :

  • installing our solar panels and pre-wiring them
  • choosing our wall shiplap, painting it and installing it

These are not super technical steps so it will be a quick article 🙂

Solar panels :

For the solar panels, you can find all types of great information and tutorials on In terms of process, all we had to do was the following steps :

  • Prep our solar panels by covering them with foam/cardboard/plastic bags. This is because they won’t be fully wired until the end of the project and we don’t want them to take the sun without being wired.
  • Test the position of our solar panels on the roof, wiring them together in series.
  • Cut a hole through the roof of the van for the wires to go through. For this step we used a hole-saw bit which is pretty straight forward
  • Sand the hole, apply rustoleum to avoid any rust in the future.
  • Cover the hole with weather stripping and electrical tape and then pass your cables through
  • Screw the cable entry (grommet) cover to the roof
  • Screw our solar panels on the roof with the help of brackets that were sold with the solar panels
  • We also added butyl tape (the same we used for our fan/window) just to add some weatherproof and balance to the panels.
  • Seal every hole with self-levelling lap sealant (on top of each screw and all around our cable entry gland).

That’s all :). It has not rained yet so we are unsure if we have leaks or not. If we do, we will just have to add a bit more sealant.

The list of material we used :

Walls :

This is a big step because even if it’s not hard to do, it looks like part of the van is finally coming to a “finish” state. To create our walls, the main challenge was to establish where we would have our support beams. The first step was to design a wood frame that would allow us to make sturdy walls.

After finishing the wooden frame, we installed our insulation.

And finally, we cut to size 6-inch wide wooden slats, sanded them, painted them in white and screwed them to our support beams.

After that we prepared a frame for our window on the kitchen wall. That was also quite easy but if you are interested in more details, just drop a comment and I’ll add an explanation on how we made the support beams, sized the frame etc.

We think the next step is to finish the kitchen wall with the same white slats at the top as well as a plywood sheet all around the window frame that will be covered in a fake backsplash. We ordered everything we needed and I can’t wait to install all of it.

After that, we will try to move on with the bed area – closing it for good so we can start building our seating/table area.

We’ll keep you posted of course!


Bobby and Coco

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