Solar power makes for a great travel companion
Gordon Southgate is affectionately referred to as ‘Mr Solar’ by the management and staff of Solar Mad.
Gordon and wife, Yvonne are very keen caravan and 4WD enthusiasts and have embraced solar power to ensure they have all the creature comforts they need when travelling to regional and remote locations.
“In the 80’s and 90’s we’d take three car batteries on a camping trip to try and keep things running,” explains Gordon.
“One year we had the TV set up and had been watching the Bathurst 500 all day. Then the batteries failed with three laps to go. I knew I had to find a better solution.”
“Nowadays, if I can run it off a solar panel, I do,” says Gordon. “I’m always looking for ways to power up things. Basically I’ll put a solar panel anywhere one will fit if it makes life easier and saves me money”.
“Having panels on the van and vehicle means we can stop anywhere, anytime and have almost endless power.”
Solar Mad fitted 2 x 60 watt modules to the roof of Gordon’s latest Toyota Land Cruiser (he’s now owned four in the past 12 years) and the caravan also has its own dedicated 3 module system.
He’s also set up a two panel system at home to power his workshop and a number of car batteries that he still takes with him when camping “just to be doubly sure of my power supply”.
Gordon has been amazed at the durability and performance of the system.
“In 2013 we had some very bad luck – a roll over accident in Queensland and a total immersion of the car and caravan in northern Victoria later in the year. The car and van were both written off but we managed to save the solar panels which were still in perfect working condition!”