Like solar panels, mobile homes are also increasingly preferred by many citizens. Whether you call it a manufactured home or mobile home, it all means the same. But how are you going to power your mobile home?
Can You Install Solar Panels On a Mobile Home? Yes. But it depends on the local building codes, permits and the roof structure of your house. The solar panels need to be installed on the mobile home roof, and your roof must support the installation.
While installing solar panels on your mobile home depends on various factors, several benefits and adverse effects are associated with the installation. This article will discuss all the aspects of installing solar panels for your mobile home. Let us get started.
Factors to be considered before installing the solar panels for your mobile home
You must consider several factors before installing solar panels for your mobile home.
The first and foremost factor is the space your roof has to accommodate the installation of the solar panels. If your roof has adequate space and inclination to support the direct sunlight, then you can proceed to install the panels for your mobile home.
Most of the manufactured homes are constructed based on each one’s preferences, and the roof may not support the installation of solar panels. In that case, you may prefer a ground-mounted solar panel. But, if your home will be mobile, it is doubtful that the ground-mounted solar panels are effective.
There are different types of roof – asphalt shingle (Flat), metal/ tile (Sloped), and concrete (flat). These roofs determine whether the roof can support the best way for positioning and mounting the solar panels.
If you have an asphalt shingle roof, it would be best to mount the panel on the ground. The best part about mounting the solar panels on the ground is removing them during the winter. And you can mount them back when required. By this, you will not lose solar energy during summer.
You may think about what location has to do with solar panels for mobile homes. You have to check whether the area in which your mobile home is located gets maximum sunlight or not, and you also must determine how much energy can be generated with the sunlight.
If your area receives the highest amount of sun throughout the year, installing a large-sized mono-module system would be best.
If your area does not receive much sunlight, it would be best to install multi-nodes, and it helps capture the sunlight from all directions and produce optimum energy.
How Much Solar Power Does a Mobile Home Require?
The power consumption of mobile homes varies widely based on the area of the mobile homes. The average size of a mobile home ranges between 500 to 800 square feet.
Let us consider a simple example to compute the average energy required by a mobile home. It involves the following assumptions:
- You use propane gas to cook
- There are no coffee makers, blenders, etc., in the house
Note: If you use any other gadgets, make sure you adjust the figures for those items.
The following would be the break-up of energy consumption per day.
Computers – 300 Watts
Mobile Device – 30 Watts
Lights – 30 Watts
Refrigerator – 800 Watts
Cooling/ Heating – 3000 Watts
Total power consumption – 4160 Watts
Let us assume that the average power requirement is between 4000 to 4500 watts per day. We need to ascertain the number of solar panels required to meet the power requirement with the given power requirement.
If you already have worked out the solar panels you would require, we suggest choosing 300 watts per panel. If you want to select a lesser Watts, it will take up much more space.
You may also choose the beginner solar panel kit that helps to add as many panels as possible without much difficulty.
Does a Solar Powered Mobile home require batteries?
The solar panels are a part of the entire solar power system. You cannot depend only on the panels but also on several other components, including controller, battery, and inverter.
A mobile home that consumes an average power ranging from 4100 to 4500 Watts requires the following components:
- 15 X 300 Watt solar panels
- 5000 Watts Inverter
- 60A MPPT Charge controller
- Backup generator
- 1200ah lead-acid battery bank
- Surge protector
- Circuit breakers
- System control panels
- Cables, wires, and connectors
If you are taking the help of professionals to install the panels for you, they will supply all the required hardware and the service.
If you plan to install the panels independently, you need to review every component and decide how much power you would require to operate the system effectively. Ensure that your backup generator has the same capacity as the solar array. It is not mandatory, but that can help you out in emergencies.
You can’t predict the climate and the calamities. In such situations, the generator comes as a savior.
Factors that affect the solar panel production of mobile homes
Several factors affect the panels’ energy production in mobile homes, and these factors are critical to be neglected.
- Solar Panel ratings are determined based on the peak output. For example, a 300 Watt panel cannot continuously produce the same energy level. If all the factors are favorable and the time is at a peak, then the panel would have 300 Watt energy.
- Though solar panels work more effectively during winter, the production can go down significantly. The production can also be nil if there are unexpected downpours.
- The area where you live plays a vital role in solar energy production. If you live in a colder country, no matter what your panel ratings are, you will produce only half of what the panel can produce. Simply put, only if there is sunshine, your panels can produce electricity.
These factors emphasize that we need to preserve more power for unexpected situations. A battery bank or solar generator can help you reserve solar energy.
What are the alternative places in the mobile homes to install solar panels?
If your roof does not support the installation of solar panels, it does not mean that you have to give up on it. There are several other options available for you.
If you have any other structure close by, including the pergola, patio, or shed, you can install the panels on them. You can connect the power from these structures to your main home.
If you have an adequate land area near your mobile home, try installing land-mounted solar panels. If your building code permits you to install them, it would be the best alternative. But keep in mind that installing ground-mounted solar panels would cost more than rooftop panels.
The output from the ground-mounted panels is much lower than the roof-mounted panels, and the reason is, the sunlight falls much lower than the roof-mounted panels.
The latest advancements in the Solar industry for mobile homes
The future for solar panels for mobile homes looks so promising. We need not depend only on the heavy-mounted equipment, and there are two best prospects – Tesla Solar Roof tiles and Stick-on solar.
Tesla Solar Roof Tiles
The Tesla solar roof tiles played a game-changer in the solar industry when they were introduced initially. As the name suggests, they look like tiles made with colored and textured glass. The solar cells are embedded within the glass tiles, and you can just place them as shingles for your roof. So, the panels are not mounted on the roof, but they are the roof for your mobile homes. Is it not exciting? Remember, the cost gives you much benefit.
Does the name give you a hint? Yes. As the name suggests, you need to stick these panels to your roof. You need not require shafts and racks, and the installation is faster and simple. The panels have adhesive at their back and stick perfectly on the shingles.
The best part of the solar panels is that they are ultra-light and do not have a heavy aluminum framed body. The weight is only 17.5 pounds compared to the traditional solar panels, which weigh around 35 to 40 pounds.
The Tesla solar roof tiles and stick-on solar has paved the way for many homeowners to install solar panels on the roof, which would have otherwise not been possible.
Advantages and Disadvantages of using solar panels at your mobile homes
There are several advantages and disadvantages to installing solar panels for your mobile homes.
- Reduction in electricity bills
- Reduction in carbon footprint
- Lower maintenance cost
- Space constraints
- Orientation of the roof
- Cost of purchase and installation of solar panels
You can install solar panels for your mobile homes. But, the structure of the home must accommodate the installation. If your roof does not support the panels, don’t ever give up. Try other options, including shed, patio, and ground-mounted solar panels.
If you are unsure whether your roof supports the panels, it would be best for you to consult an experienced local installer to check your structure and check if your building supports the structure.