In effort to save money and reduce their carbon footprint, many Americans are choosing to move into tiny homes. Though tiny homes are inherently energy-efficient, they still require energy for lighting, heating, cooling and household appliances. You might be surprised to learn that the cost of energy bills can be cut even further by generating clean electricity via solar panels.
What are the benefits?
The benefits of solar power for tiny homes are not much different than the benefits for traditional homes. Of course, utility bill costs will be reduced, and it will help the environment. Other benefits include an increase of home value should the homeowner decide to sell it in the future.
Also, many tiny homes are mobile. This means that homeowners can move to a new location without worrying about finding power sources. Instead, there is a guaranteed electricity wherever they go.
How many panels are needed?
The average tiny home uses about four kilowatts of solar power a day. With an average sized solar panel of about 300 watts, 15 panels should be enough to power a tiny home. However, this number may vary depending on the home’s exact size, how many people live there and the appliances used.
Where can panels be installed?
Solar panels are usually installed on the roof of a home. While this is an option for some tiny homes, most roofs can only fit three or four panels due to its small size. Even if the roof is large enough to hold more panels, it may not be strong enough to withstand the extra weight.
A more viable option for installing solar panels for tiny homes is to use a ground-mounted system. This is the process of installing solar panels on a sunny lot near the home. Though these systems require a more complex set-up, the homeowner will have more space and freedom to place their solar panels.
Where is electricity stored?
There are two main options for storing electricity for a tiny home. The first option is to be connected to the city’s power grid. In this case, excess power generated will be sent out to the grid where it will be stored. However, if a tiny home is off grid, the solar panels will need to be paired with a battery and charge controller. The battery will store the electricity generated throughout the day so that the homeowner has power at all times.
Even the smallest of tiny homes with the lowest electricity needs can benefit from solar power. The less power a tiny home uses, the fewer panels that are needed. If a tiny home uses less than three kilowatts of solar power, a homeowner may consider purchasing a complete solar kit for a DIY project. However, if the tiny home uses a bit more, it is advised to work with a professional solar installer.
In many areas of the county, legislation is changing or updating to encourage homeowners to think differently about their living space. Tiny homes offer the opportunity to own a home at a fraction of the typical price and the freedom to spend time and money living a life of adventure and ease instead of upkeep and maintenance. It’s a great opportunity for trade professionals to widen the scope of their offerings to include the specific needs of tiny home owners.
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