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Solar Panels for tiny Houses

By Benjamin Strusnik May 17, 2022

Tiny houses are all the rage. For better energy efficiency and a sense of independence from ostentatious consumption, homeowners are removing clutter and simplifying their lives. Solar panels for apartments and tiny houses expand the possibilities of minimal energy needs, whether your small house is on a permanent foundation or on wheels. 

Want to be self-sufficient in your tiny house? Solar power could be the answer to your energy problems.

Luckily for us, living in a solar-powered house has never been more convenient. Thanks to technological advances, photovoltaics have become more economical and widely available in recent decades.

Advantages of Solar Panels

Having solar panels on a tiny house has many of the same benefits as installing them on a larger building: you do something good for the environment, you save money on utility bills, and have control over your own power generation.

Solar panels also increase the value of your tiny house if you want to sell it later - potential buyers appreciate their new home coming with access to clean, renewable energy and are willing to pay more for it.

Solar Panels for Tiny Houses on Wheels

solar panels for tiny house

Many tiny houses are also portable, so you can move them from one property to another and follow the seasons or simply relocate once you get tired of your current location. 

If you want to get a solar panel for your mobile home, then you’re in luck. You don't have to rely on finding alternative energy sources wherever you and your house go which means you can set up practically anywhere you want. 

You can hook up to reliable solar panels for tv and lights and move all your energy needs wherever you go. 

Solar Panels for Your Tiny House

The type of solar panel system your tiny house needs is determined by the answers to a few important questions.

solar panels for tiny homes

How Small Is ‘Tiny?’

There's no clear definition of what a "tiny" house is, other than that it’s smaller than a ‘normal’ home. 

Basically, any floor plan that meets all of your day-to-day needs is considered tiny. However, most small houses are between 60 and 400 square feet, with the average being around 200 square feet. When you consider that the average dorm room is between 150 and 200 square feet, you realize just how small these houses can be.

How Many Solar Panels to Power A Tiny House?

Tiny houses use significantly less power than bigger households. However, each tiny house is unique, and the amount of electricity needed depends on the size, number of occupants, appliances, and other factors. 

To maximize your savings, you should try to generate as much of your total electricity requirements yourself as possible. This could mean installing as few as five or as many as fifteen solar panels.

To figure out how many solar panels you need for a small home, first figure out how much energy your family uses. Consider whether you need electricity for cooking, heating shower water, and other uses. Many tiny houses use propane grills and a shared bathing facility to save money on electricity. 

solar panel for tiny house

For heating, cooling, lighting, and all appliances, the average home uses about 30 kilowatts per day. For a home of 150 to 200 square feet, only 3 to 4 kW are needed daily.

Calculating how many solar panels are needed for a tiny house is easy once you figure out your electricity needs. To figure out how many solar panels you need, divide the total wattage by the wattage of the solar system.

Where Should You Mount Your Solar Panels?

Before you mount the panels on the roof of your house, you should make sure the roof gets enough sunlight and is stable enough to support the solar panels and racking equipment. Depending on how and with what the roof of your tiny house was built, it may not be sturdy enough to support the extra weight.

Consider these alternatives for roof mounting:

Standing Ground

If you've got a plot of land near your house, this is a great place to install a large solar array. Solar racks can hold up to six panels, are more efficient and cooler than roof mounts, and are easy to clean of dirt and snow.

Poles for Mounting

If you already have a pole, adjustable side pole mounts that can hold one or two modules are a good choice. Combine them with a couple of roof panels to get the total amount of power production you need.

Carports Mounting System

This design serves a dual purpose of shading your vehicle while generating electricity, and it leaves plenty of room for future expansion

Larger systems require more mounting and framing materials, but you've got more options for panel placement and often have more space to work on. Whether the panels are installed on the roof or on the ground, they should be positioned to collect the greatest amount of solar energy.

Are You Connected to the Power Grid?

how many solar panels to power a tiny house

When you connect your small house to the municipal grid, the electrical and system installation are the same as a normal residential rooftop system. Since you're generating solar energy throughout the day, the system will first provide for your energy needs before feeding excess electricity back into the grid.

A lot of utilities offer a subsidy for net metering, which gives you a credit for the electricity you generate. You can use this credit to draw power from the grid at night so your tiny house doesn't go dark.

If your house isn't connected to the grid, you'll need to combine your panels and inverter with a charge controller and battery to charge the battery during the day and use the electricity at sunset. If you use a battery, it should be stored indoors since they are susceptible to high temperatures and degrade faster in hot and cold weather.

If your house is adjacent to another building or is in a yard, you can use the larger building's solar panels to power it. Once your tiny house is solar-powered, you can connect it to the building's power grid with extension cords to provide clean solar power to the main home.

Solar panels aren’t only efficient for your tiny house, but solar panels can power an entire house.

Solar Options

Solar energy can also benefit small households that use less electricity. 

Self-assembly of solar panels is often the most cost-effective solution if your small home uses a small amount of power and requires only a few solar panels. Numerous companies offer complete solar packages. Many manufacturers offer batteries in their solar kits if you want to set up an off-grid system. 

As with all electrical work, you should work with a professional electrician if possible.

You should contract for a solar installation if your small home uses so much electricity that you need more than 3 kilowatts (kW) of solar power. You can get solar system estimates that include labor, permits, and equipment. You can include the type of solar system you want for your tiny house in your bill.

Best Solar Panels for Tiny Houses

EcoFlow 110-Watt Foldable Solar Panel

With the Ecoflow 110W solar panel, you no longer need external power sources. The Ecoflow 110W solar panel is extremely impressive, being both reliable and convenient during power shortages.

solar panels for tiny home

It's small enough to take anywhere. Due to its higher conversion efficiency, it charges efficiently and quickly in all sorts of weather conditions. A-class monocrystalline silicon cells make up the 110-watt solar panel. You have to remember that these solar panels can withstand a lot of heat. Simply put, their performance isn't affected by high temperatures. Even in situations where there’s low light, it often outperforms the competition.

The durability of this easy-to-carry solar panel is uncompromising, as it's made of strong fiberglass material. It can resist scratches and survive humid environments. As such, the device has a long service life that will keep you going for many years.

Final Thoughts

Many people choose to build and live in small homes to live a more efficient and ecological lifestyle. Equipping a tiny house with a solar system is a fantastic way to live in accordance with these values and goals while reaping the savings and benefits of solar. 

It doesn't have to be a pipe dream to live an energy-independent, sustainable and simple lifestyle. You can easily turn those dreams into reality by installing a solar system on a compact home. Solar panels even make selling your house a more attractive option once you decide to move on.

If you take the time to educate yourself, properly size your system and purchase the right technology, your home can be gaining solar power in no time.

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