Are There Alternative Places To Install Solar Panels On A Mobile Home
If you cannot put solar panels on the roof, that does not mean you have to give up on solar power. Here are some ideas.
The first option is to install the panels on another structure close by, like a pergola, a patio or even a shed. Once set up, you can connect these panels to your main house.
If your property has a sizeable land area, consider a ground mounted solar installation. In a grounded configuration, a structure is set up where the solar panels can be installed. If your local building code allows this, it is the best alternative to rooftop solar panels.
Keep in mind that ground mount solar panels cost more than rooftop panels to install. Their output is also lower because they are further from the sun. However, it is the most practical option if you want solar power for your mobile home.
Can You Install Rooftop Solar Power Panels On A Mobile Home
Rooftop solar panels arent usually an option for manufactured homes.
Unlike site-built homes, mobile homes arent structurally designed to handle a PV panel installation. This type of housing has smaller roof joists, which arent strong enough to safely hold the weight of the photovoltaic array. Plus, manufactured homes dont have permanent concrete foundations for added integrity.
Additionally, local building codes may not allow the installation of rooftop solar power panels on a structure that isnt permanently embedded in the ground.
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.
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Cost Of Solar Panels In Ontario
For most potential solar customers, the motivations for considering the purchase of a solar array break down into a combination of personal priorities. Many people have environmental aspirations they want to reduce their carbon footprint. Others like the idea of being more self-reliant. One thing they all share is a desire to save money by generating their power independently.
How much will solar panels cost for an average Ontario customer?
According to the Ontario Energy Board, the average Ontario household consumes about 9,000 kWhs of electricity per year. To offset 100% of their electrical use, an average Ontario homeowner would need to install approximately a 7,500-watt solar array. With the current installed cost of solar generation at between $2.50 and $3.00 per watt, a 7,500-watt solar array will run somewhere between $18,750 and $22,500.
What kind of payback can I expect on solar?
Subsidies reduce payback
The actual payback period for Ontario residents depends on participation in one of several available programs.
Greener Homes Grant provides homeowners an opportunity to install renewable energy generation systems , and receive up to $5,000 in government rebates.
Net metering is a trade of electricity you supply versus electricity you consume. When you provide excess electricity to your local distributor, they apply credits toward your energy bill.
New technologies mean lower prices
What Happens To The Solar Panels If I Move Out
If you get solar panels installed and later decide to move home, you can’t take the panels, smart export guarantee or feed-in tariff payments with you.
Solar payments are paid to the owner of the property where the solar panels are installed, so normally when you move, the new owner will receive the payments.
While you could physically remove the panels from your old home and install them on the new one, you still wouldn’t receive payments, as the panels would be considered ‘second-hand’ and so not eligible for the scheme.
It’s also worth noting solar panel installations are tailored to each home to fit the roof and be positioned to maximise the level of sunlight they receive so it’s likely they wouldn’t perform as well if you installed them on a different home.
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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 !
More: 5 Major Ways to Save Money on Home Energy Beyond Solar Panels
How Can A Mobile Home Owner Adopt Solar Power
So if you cant install rooftop PV panels on your mobile home, how can you go solar?
You could choose another structure for your rooftop PV panel installation. An enclosed patio, garage or storage shed might have the structural integrity for a photovoltaic array.
If you dont have another suitable building, you could adopt solar power using a ground-mounted PV installation. In most cases, a ground-mounted photovoltaic system is the smartest option for a manufactured home. And since it can be placed in the most advantageous position, you can expect maximum energy production.
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Pros And Cons Of Solar Panels For Your Home
Like most things, solar power has its benefits and drawbacks. At the same time, some economic costs may be defrayed by the social benefits to the environment and lowering your carbon footprint, which exceeds pure monetary evaluation.
Green energy that lowers your carbon footprint
Net metering allows you to sell back excess energy produced
You may be eligible for certain tax breaks
Installation and maintenance costs still high
Solar only works when the sun is out
Parts of the system need to be replaced every few years
Some tax breaks may have expired or will be expiring
Savon Homes Offers Solar As An Option On Our New Homes
Modern mobile homes are constructed much stronger than they were in the past. Solar Powered mobile homes require a stronger roofing system than a standard roof. Contact Us to talk more about how we can add solar to your new mobile home.
Solar panels are the key to generating clean, low-cost power for your home. Solar panels are photovoltaic, which is how they convert sunlight into energy. They are assembled in an array, which means they are linked together.
We don’t install solar panels on existing manufactured homes but provide the following information below, which will help with installing solar on older homes. Generally, it’s better to install on a newer home as the structural members that support the roof are stronger than they were in earlier mobile home construction.
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Can You Install Solar Panels In An Area That Gets Lots Of Thunderstorms
Yes, you can.
In fact, if the installation is done correctly with high-quality materials and if the solar panels are installed by a trusted company, then do not worry about this at all!
You can install them and forget about them.
They will do their job silently in the background without harming anyone or anything around them .
But do consider where you place your installation because if there is too much risk, do not do it.
You dont want to take a chance with your safety and the safety of those around you!
Related article: Can I Put Solar Panels On A Mobile Home?
Is Solar Power Worth It
Dont get me wrong, RV solar power has some downsides, but it is absolutely worth the investment. While it is a hefty cost upfront, it gives you the ability to go boondocking on public land rather than having to stay in a crowded RV park with hookups.
From what youll save on camping fees as well as on electricity costs, it will make up for the expensive initial investment. Solar power is also completely silent unlike a generator, and maintaining your RV solar panels is easy once everything is set up.
Cover photo via Serolynne under Flickr Creative Commons
Plan Better Trips Faster
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Roof Racks For Solar Panels
If you want to install a large-sized mono-module system on your mobile home
Then its highly recommended to use specially designed roof racks to avoid any damage being caused by heavy snowfall.
This means that you will not need to worry about the safety of your solar panels during the winter months and they can also be easily removed when required.
This is a great advantage since there are no moving parts or complicated technology involved with these types of systems.
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Solar Panels Are Generally Low Maintenance
The Energy Saving Trust says little maintenance is required on a properly installed, well-designed solar PV system, though you’ll likely need to replace the inverter a gadget which is a key part of the mechanism within about 25 years .
Of course, though, things can go wrong. If so, check the installer warranty you get it can cover you for up to 20 yeas. If the panels are damaged by something unexpected, like a storm, you may also be covered by buildings insurance check with your insurer before you have them installed.
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Parking In The Shade Can Be Tricky
On a hot summer day, youre probably dreaming of parking the RV in a nicely shaded campsite out of the blistering hot sun. However, if you have installed solar panels on your roof, they wont generate nearly as much power if they are not getting direct sunlight.
Portable solar power units might give you the best of both worlds IF you dont need tons of power. Its often easier to set up since it doesnt require drilling holes in your roof. Quality portable solar electric systems are made by Renogy, Acopower, and Eco-worthy. Goal Zero also makes portable power stations, to use with their solar panels. Whats nice is they have a built-in inverter and outlets for your electronics. Do you already own rooftop panels? Check out this easy mod from Do It Yourself RV on how to make them portable.
Solar Access Laws: New York
New York State, like California, allows property owners to negotiate solar easements. In addition, certain towns and cities in New York have zoning rules that allow for solar access protection. For example, some local zoning rules limit the height of certain types of vegetation that might shade solar panels, or limit the height of new buildings altogether. These zoning laws vary throughout the state, so they may not exist in every town or city. Currently, there are no state-level laws regarding solar rights.
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What Kinds Of Solar Panels Are Appropriate For A Manufactured Home
Although standard rooftop PV panels usually cant be installed on a manufactured home, a homeowner does have some options, such as:
- In some cases, another structure such as a detached garage or enclosed patio may be suitable for a rooftop PV array. Always consult both the manufacturer of the structure and the PV manufacturer first to learn if your structure is a good choice for solar panel installation.
- If the lot is sufficiently large, homeowners can purchase a ground-mounted photovoltaic system, in which the PV panels are mounted in the yard. For many manufactured homeowners, this is the easiest and most cost-effective solar panel option.
- Solar roof shingles are miniature solar PV cells the size of a typical roof shingle, and they can be a great alternative to traditional roof-mounted PV panels. Solar shingles have recently become substantially more affordable , and they could save some homeowners as much as 40 to 60 percent on their electric bills.
- Solar-powered water heaters are another popular option that use stored energy from the suns heat to provide cost-effective hot water on demand.
For more information on selecting a solar system and whether solar is right for you, see the FTCs guide to solar power for your home.
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
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Solar Comes To The Trailer Park
Solar power, once thought to be only for the wealthy, is now helping rural poor reduce their energy bills. Americans who live in mobile homes are particularly vulnerable to energy poverty. But a new program could get them clean energy and provide long-term savings, says Bentham Paulos.
Mobile homes are notoriously energy-inefficient, meaning high power bills for low-income people
While many think of poverty as an urban problem, the truth is that some of the poorest communities in America are in rural areas.
The quintessential example of rural poverty is the trailer home park. Manufactured homes, formerly called trailers or mobile homes, are often built in neighborhoods owned by a single landlord, though can also be built on individual lots.
And incomes are low. According to the Census Bureau, the median household income of occupants of a manufactured home was only $28,400 last year, compared to $48,000 for all housing types. Almost a quarter of mobile home households have incomes under the federal poverty level.
New Mexico is a hotbed of manufactured housing, which makes up 17% of the housing stock in the state. That is the second highest number per capita, after South Carolina, according to Ken Hughes of the state energy office. Theyre just everywhere.
For low-income families, electricity is usually the third biggest item after lodging and food, says Hughes.
We are looking for non-profits that would want to take up the challenge, Gaiser says.
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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Youll Need A Battery Bank
With shore power, you never really need to worry about backup power. Once youre hooked up at the campsite, you can just plug in your laptop or coffee maker like you would at home. The weather or time of day doesnt affect your life at all.
On the other hand, if you have solar panels, youll need a battery bank. This provides power for nighttime, cloudy days and when you want to park out of the sun. Lithium-ion batteries, though more expensive, are a better option for solar energy storage than lead-acid batteries. Theyre lighter, more compact, and have a longer lifespan.
How Much Does A Solar Panel Cost
Prices have been coming down steadily over the years. The total cost will depend on how many kilowatts of power your array will generate. According to consumer reports, after solar tax credits are accounted for, the cost for a solar panel system on an average-sized house in the U.S. in 2021 ranges from $11,000 to $15,000.
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