What If My Home Does Not Have A Strong Enough Roof
You can install solar panels as stand-alone units that power your home. In most cases, you will need to check with your homeowner’s association if in a park and with your city’s building department if you are on your own land.
Building departments often disallow solar panel installation on homes that do not have a permanent foundation. It only takes a phone call to your local city hall to talk to the building department before proceeding.
Another option for getting a solar-powered mobile home is to use an outbuilding or even carport as the required structure to support the solar panels. These structures are generally low cost due to their minimal construction. But, they can easily be made into sturdy structures for solar. Talk to a local contractor to determine what it would take to make your carport or outbuilding a suitable base for solar panels.
Portable Home Solar Panels Reduce Energy Bills
It is cheaper to buy and install solar panels on your homes roof in many states than continuing to buy electricity from local utility providers for the next two to three decades. This is the estimated life of solar system installations. Portable home solar panels cost as much as other rooftop solar energy installations. This is because there is no special equipment needed, and you can still enjoy the financial savings associated with going solar in the United States.
Suppose you live in a manufactured home in Arizona and use approximately 913 kilowatt-hours, costing $0.13 per kWh every month . In this case, you would need a 6.5 kW solar system installation to cover 100% of your yearly energy usage. This is equivalent to about 25 solar panels.
Things are about to get more interesting: suppose you measure your portable homes roof and realize that you can only install 12 solar panels. In this case, you can cover only 50 percent of your energy needs with solar power. So, will installing solar panel kits to cover 50 percent of your energy usage make economic sense?
Well, 12 solar panels would generate about 5,299 kWh every year in Arizona. At the current average solar system installation cost of $2.93 per watt, your system would cost about $6,400 after federal tax credits and other solar programs. Assuming that this power system lasts 25 years, it would generate approximately 120,504 kWh during that period.
Why Our Phones Still Aren’t Powered By The Sun
30 September 2016
‘I’m talking on sunshine’
Aside from screens that are prone to smashing, and disappearing headphone jacks , one of the most annoying things about smartphones is just how quickly their lithium-ion batteries drain.
Even the latest handsets on the market, touting more advanced features than ever, rarely managed to last much longer than a day without needing to be plugged into a wall if you’re lucky.
It feels like there’s an obvious solution, right above our heads: the sun offers bountiful energy, and the idea of actually utilising solar power to power our phones is far from a fantasy.
We’re used to seeing photovoltaic panels dotted about on houses and office buildings, and they’re being increasingly built into smaller accessories, like speakers and backpacks.
And the good news is that many manufacturers including the big guns of Apple and Samsung are looking to see if the sun can be the answer to our battery woes.
So if the tech is available, if research is being done into more convenient, sustainable ways of charging our phones, and if we’re all increasingly on board with the idea of using solar power, then why aren’t all our phones currently running off sunshine instead of the mains?
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Consider Energy Efficiency Upgrades
If you cant install solar , consider installing a few energy efficiency upgrades to your home. In fact, the most cost-effective thing you can do to lower your energy costs is to install energy efficient upgrades. Its even cheaper than solar!
Older mobile homes are infamously inefficient. Windows are thin and unsealed, allowing conditioned air to leak out. Walls can be uninsulated. The Environmental and Energy Study Institute found that people living in manufactured homes built before the late 1970s use 1.5x more energy than any other home type.
In 1976, new federal standards for manufactured homes means they are now much more energy efficient, but new mobile homes can still be plagued by inefficiencies. A study by the US Department of Energy identified the 5 best upgrades to increase your mobile homes efficiency:
- Seal air leaks as well as furnace ducts
- Perform a furnace tune-up to ensure its working properly
- Adding insulation to the belly of the home
- Installing storm windows inside the home
- Blowing insulation into the attic space
Also consider replacing old lightbulbs with LEDs, replacing that 30-year old refrigerator and dishwasher for Energy Star models and caulking around all your windows and doors so conditioned air cant escape. Most of these little projects can be done in a weekend and theyll go a long way to reducing your energy use !
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Solar Options For Manufactured Homes
Solar energy is an exceptionally effective way to heat a manufactured home throughout the year. Obviously, before you transform your manufactured home into a solar powered haven, make sure you understand several things.
The most significant thing to understand about a solar energy system is it consists of three components: heat collection, heat storage and heat distribution. Any solar system lacking the capacity for storage can only produce heat during the daytime.
Should you have a passive solar system, the building is the foundation of the three components. If your system is active, the components become a natural part of that solar powered system when it is put in.
Sadly when it comes to manufactured homes there are two drawbacks with solar power: the lack of thermal mass for nighttime storage prevents the uses of a passive system and the space or structural strength may not be good enough for the unit installation of an active solar system.
While the majority of solar measures are pricey and take quite some time to pay for themselves, if you are able to accommodate passive measure with new construction, the price will be equivalent to conventional construction.
Solar water heating is also a very cost-effective measure, second only to assuring the utilization of passive solar features at the time of the manufactured homes construction. Obviously, you need hot water all year long irregardless of your areas climate.
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Tips To Boost Mobile Home Solar Power Efficiency
Manufactured homes are often incredibly inefficient, wasting a great amount of energy. Make a few upgrades, and you can lower your energy consumption a cost-effective strategy for anyone looking to adopt solar power.
According to a study from the U.S. Department of Energy, the most worthwhile mobile home efficiency measures include:
- Sealing furnace ducts and air leaks
- Scheduling a furnace tuneup
Sealing And Coating Is The Best Way To Fix Roof Rumble
The best way to handle roof rumble is to stop the wind from getting under that metal. One way to do that is to seal the seams and edges and then coat the entire roof with an elastomeric roof coating. The white acrylic liquid is a popular solution. Pay particular attention to the edge of the roof.
It is recommended that you coat your mobile homes flat roof every other year anyway.
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Why Your Roof Cant Support Solar Panels
There are two main reasons why this is the case. First, mobile home roofs do not have particularly strong structures. Did you know that solar panels can add over 400 pounds to your roof? Especially if you live in an area with significant snowfall or strong winds, adding that much weight to your mobile home roof would almost certainly compromise its integrity.
Another thing that stick-built homes have that mobile homes dont is a permanent foundation. Again, this affects the homes structural strength. So can mobile homes have solar panels? Our verdict: solar panels are simply too heavy for mobile homes.
In addition, your mobile home park may not even allow rooftop solar panels! And even more importantly, your county may not approve a renovation of this type.
Can I Install Solar Panels On My Mobile Home
In all honesty, probably not. As we saw above, the issue is not about electricity use or production. You can save quite a bit of money by offsetting your electricity costs for your manufactured home by going solar.
Its also not about roof space. Sure, you might have a smaller roof than the average house, but with the average manufactured home being over 1,000 square feet, you should have no problem fitting a row or two of solar panels up there. You can even save money by covering just 50% of your total usage!
The issue is the structural components of most manufactured homes, specifically the roof and the foundation. Most of these homes simply arent designed to hold solar panels. Lets get a little more detailed:
The roof needs to be strong enough
Solar panels and all their equipment are heavy. The solar panels themselves weigh around 35 pounds each. Then theres the aluminum rails that the solar panels sit on, the flashing and attachment points that are bolted to your roof, and the electrical conduit that protects the wires running to your breaker box, not to mention the weight of the installers while they wander around your roof installing the panels!
The issue with most manufactured homes is that they typically have smaller roof joists than conventional homes. This means they cant safely hold the weight of the installation. If youve got the right joist set-up, you could be well on your way to safely installing solar on your roof, but few mobile homes actually do.
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Solar Photovoltaic Costs Considerations In Bc
The cost of installing solar PV systems has declined steadily over the last decade as a result of technology improvements and more efficient systems yielding a higher power output.
In B.C., a 1 kW solar PV system, south facing and tilted with no shading, will generate about 1,200 kWh per year or about 30,000 kWh over its 25 year lifetime. This is taking into account an industry average solar panel efficiency degradation rate of 0.5% per year.
At a turnkey installation cost of about $3,000, it would take you over 25 years to recoup your investment at today’s average electricity rates.
In remote locations where there is no grid to tie into for power, off-grid solar PV systems can be used to store power in batteries which can be used throughout the day or even at night. In B.C., off-grid systems make for a sound investment when installed in locations where alternative power sources such as diesel generators are required.
Batteries are obviously an added cost to an off-grid system and, depending on the type of batteries used, they require regular maintenance and/or replacement during the system’s lifecycle.
No : Install A Small Rooftop Do
Manufactured homes dont have the same level of structural support as conventional homes, so installing lots of DIY solar panels on the roof may be out of the question.
However, you may be able to install a small rooftop photovoltaic array. Mobile home roofs can usually hold a few photovoltaic modules, which can produce enough power to make a big difference in your electric bills.
Take care to ensure that your DIY solar array wont cause any structural damage to the roof. You may want a professional roofer to do an inspection to verify that your roof can handle the extra weight.
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How Much Do Ground
Installing ground-mounted solar panels is a more involved process than installing roof-mounted panels. Ground-mounted panels require a cement base and a metal structure to support them. You wouldnt want them flying off in a high wind.
Although ground-mounted solar panels are just as effective as roof-mounted, they cost more for a lot of reasons. Labor and material costs, plus building permit costs, make ground-mounted solar panels a pricey option. But we all agree that the reward comes later when you save hundreds of dollars in electric bills by using natures built-in energy source!
Some Important Factors To Consider
Another issue that many builders have when it comes to putting solar systems on mobile homes is the placement of the panels. There is no space on a mobile home to install a solar array that will generate enough electricity to run your home or pay the electric bill. Since the panels are placed on a mobile home, they are exposed to direct sunlight all the time. While the panels do block some of the direct sunlight from hitting the panels, the amount of sunlight that hits the panels during the day is still very significant. This can lead to overheating of the panels and eventually failure of the solar panel system.
Lastly, many people have found that the installation costs for solar power on mobile homes just arent worth the costs. For starters, most people cant afford to spend the money necessary to have solar panels installed on their roofs. If you have been told that you need to have solar panels installed in order to have access to cheap electricity, then you can bet that you are in for a rude awakening in the near future.
These are just a few of the problems that have been encountered with the installation of solar power systems on mobile homes. The reality is that the installation of a solar power system is simply not affordable by average consumers.
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Questions About Mobile Home Roofs: Moisture And Leaks
I bought my home in 2009. In 2013 we noticed when it rains we get moisture at the bottom of our living room, dining room, and master bath walls. The insurance adjuster said that we had flashing issues along the front of the home and said its the manufacturers issue and to call the insurance company. Unfortunately, the insurance company said this type of damage is not covered. Does anyone know how I can have this issue fixed? When it rains a heavy downpour we have moisture. Although not every time, we have had the problem a few times. Please help!
Im sorry you are experiencing this but its absolutely fixable. An experienced roofer can probably find the issue in no time.
Its probably going to be a shingle, gutter, or flashing issue that is allowing the water to travel the path of least resistance down to your floor. It could also be a window issue . I cant help much without seeing the issue.
It absolutely needs to be repaired ASAP. Otherwise, you risk some even greater damage to your home. Its one of those situations where you pay $1000 to fix it today or $5000 or more to fix it next year.
If you dont have gutters on the home you may want to consider installing them after you have this issue repaired as it helps carry water away from the side of the house.
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Solar Options For Your Mobile Home
Ground Mount Solar does not have to go on the roof. Solar panels can be attached to a ground mount and then trenched to your meter and electrical box. The only thing you need here is enough property in an unshaded area that will fit the system.
A solar flower is a variation to the ground mounted system and would be a great fit for mobile homes. The solar flower is mobile itself and uses less space by following the suns path through the sky. for a full description of the smartflower.
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Does A Solar Powered Mobile Home Need Batteries
The panels are only one part of your solar system. To fully power your mobile house, you need a charge controller, batteries and an inverter. We suggest a 1200ah battery bank or more. You can buy three 400ah Shunbin LiFePO4 batteries or any size as long as the total is 1200ah.
A mobile that consumes 4100 to 4500W needs:
- 15 x 300W solar panels
- 1200ah lead acid battery bank
- 60A MPPT charge controller
- 5000W inverter
- Backup generator
You should also have a surge protector, circuit breakers, system control panel and the required cables, wires and connectors. if you purchased a solar panel kit or will have a professional installer do it for you, they will provide all the tools and hardware.
if you are going to do the installation, review each component and calculate how much solar power you need. A note about the generator: your backup generator should ideally have the same capacity as the solar array, in this case 4500W. It is not strictly necessary, but in case of emergency can be a real life saver.
You can never tell with the weather or if an unforeseen disaster strikes. If you end being unable to use your solar power system for prolonged periods, having a generator on standby can give you peace of mind.
You can go with 12V or 24V batteries. depending on the electrical system. You can opt for AGM or lithium, but for tiny houses, lead acid batteries are sufficient.
Will Solar Panels Lower My Electricity Bill
In a word: yes. In most states, its cheaper to purchase and install solar panels on your roof than continuing to purchase electricity from your utility for the next 25 years .
Solar panels for mobile homes cost as much as any other roof-top installation, as there is no real special equipment, and you can see some real savings.
Lets run through a quick example just to see typical costs and savings:
Say you live in a manufactured home in Nevada. You use about 913 kWh each month and spend $0.13/kWh for electricity from the utility .
To cover 100% of your annual energy usage, youd need a 6.5kW installation .
Lets make it a little more interesting: You measure your roof, but uh oh! It looks like you can only fit 12 solar panels on your roof. This means you can only cover 50% of your total electricity use with solar! Does installing solar panels to cover 50% of your usage make sense? Lets find out!
12 solar panels would produce about 5,299 kWh each year in Nevada. At the national average installation cost of $2.93/watt, a 3.2kW installation would cost $6,400 after the 30% federal tax credit. Assuming they last the standard 25 years, your solar installation would produce about 120,504 kWh by the end of its life.
If you purchased that much electricity from your utility over the next 25 years, youd spend $24,062. So, by covering even just 50% of your total electricity use, you save over $17.5k! That seems like a good deal to us!
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