Installing Solar Power on a Tiny House – Much of the appeal of a tiny home, is the ability to live a less expensive lifestyle. One way that many tiny homeowners attempt to further save money is by installing “off the grid” systems such as solar power. What would it take to install solar power on a tiny home? Can you install a solar power system that would generate enough power for your tiny home?
Here are some details about solar power for tiny homes to help you decide if solar power is a good choice when building your tiny home.
The Benefits of Solar Panels on a Tiny Home
The benefits of using solar power for a tiny home are very much the same as using solar power anywhere. The main benefits of solar power are saving money on electricity bills, a lesser impact on the environment, and the ability to be in control of your own electricity. Solar energy can also help to increase the value of a tiny home, should you decide to sell the home, buyers interested in tiny homes will be willing to pay a little extra for a home that helps them further reduce their bills.
If you are planning to keep your tiny home mobile, solar energy will more easily allow you to move the home and set up anywhere you want. No need to rely on finding a hook-up or place to the plugin.
Great Questions to Ask About Solar Energy for a Tiny Home
How Much Electricity is Needed?
Most tiny houses will use much less energy than a traditional home, but every tiny home is different and will have different needs to power the systems inside. The amount of energy you will need will depend on the square footage of the home (this will impact the amount of energy needed to heat or cool it), how many people will be living in the home (impact on how many things will need to be powered at the same time), the appliances in the home, etc. To save the most money possible you will want to try and generate all energy from solar if possible.
The best way to calculate how much electricity you will need in your tiny home is to add up all of the electrical items you have or will plan to use. You can use a home electronic energy use calculator found online to help you out. The amount of power you need will also help you to determine if you can install a smaller DIY system or a larger system that should be installed by a pro.
Is a Rooftop System or Ground System Better?
When installing solar panels, most people think of a rooftop system, but before installing roof panels you want to make sure that your tiny home’s roof gets plenty of sunlight. You will also want to make sure that the roof structure is strong enough to hold the panels and the equipment to keep them in place.
Instead of installing panels on the roof some tiny homeowners opt to install panels on the ground in a sunny spot near the home. This allows for the panels to be placed in any direction needed so they can be tilted in the maximum position to capture sunlight.
Will Your Home Still be Connected to the Grid?
Some tiny homeowners decide to keep their homes connected to a public utility hookup in addition to having solar power. In the event that the solar panels do not generate enough energy for the home, the traditional electrical system kicks in and takes over. If you produce more energy than you need it can collect the excess energy and the energy company will provide an incentive in the form of credits for helping to provide energy.
If you decide to stay off-grid you will need a battery system to collect and store energy to power your home after the sun goes down. You will probably want to store this battery indoors as it can be sensitive to temperature changes.
If the tiny home is in the back yard of a larger home, it can be powered with extension cords hooked into solar electricity from the bigger home.
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