DIY, Off-Grid

SOLAR PANELS: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Tiny house movement is taking the world by storm. Many people are now opting for small homes as they are cheaper and luxurious. It is therefore not surprising to come across a tiny house on wheels or foundation. However, tiny enthusiasts are still in limbo about energy self-efficiency. This is because there are many options to choose from. Fortunately, you can now rely on solar panels as the prim

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Solar Panels

Solar panels have become popular among tiny enthusiasts who want to go off-grid. These panels can offer the energy that you need without causing any problems. Furthermore, they are in line with tiny home-owners goals of reducing costs. However, you have to consider the pros and cons of solar panels before installing one in your tiny house.

Advantages of Solar Panels

CHEAPER

CHEAPER

Solar panels are lower in cost when you compare them to other conventional forms of energy. This is a massive boost for tiny enthusiasts as they can cut on cost. Furthermore, the low price is in line with the time movement’s plan of minimizing spending.

ENERGY INDEPENDENCE

Most owners of a tiny house are never bound to one specific location. This is especially the case when you are a proud owner of a Tiny House on Wheels (THOW). For this reason, you need to have a reliable source of energy for your THOW. Solar energy offers exactly this since it is applicable even in remote areas with no access to power. With a solar panel, you can enjoy the freedom of travelling in your tiny house on a trailer.

ENERGY INDEPENDENCE
ENVIRONMENT FRIENDLY

ENVIRONMENT FRIENDLY

The tiny house movement consists of people with an interest in reducing pollution. By installing a solar panel, tiny enthusiasts can achieve their desires. All this is made possible since solar energy does not pollute the environment.

LOW MAINTENANCE COST

Solar energy systems do not need a lot of maintenance. They, therefore, suite tiny house owners since they do not have to spend more on maintenance costs. All you have to do is clean the systems a couple of times per year, and you are good to go.

LOW MAINTENANCE COST

Disadvantages of Solar Energy

Weather Dependent

Tiny enthusiasts living in areas that lack enough sunlight cannot enjoy solar energy. Fortunately, they can consider using a moveable solar panel to cater for all their energy needs. However, you must be ready to plan before using a moveable solar panel. For instance, one can calculate the number of hours with sunlight in your area per day.

Solar Provides DC Energy

Most standard electrical appliances depend on AC as their main wiring source. Few people may understand this unless you are an electrician. Members of the tiny community have to buy an inverter to convert energy from DC to AC. Alternatively, one will have to re-purchase all DC appliances if you are to get the most out of solar power.

How Much Energy is needed to Power a Tiny House?

Before installing a solar panel in your tiny house, you have to calculate the amount of energy that you need. To do this successfully, you can make use of an online calculator. With this calculator, you can determine your appliance energy needs. You should, therefore, design your tiny home in line with the amount of power that you are planning to use.

Once you have the correct estimates, you must consider the battery size. If your battery is too small, then you risk having a short battery life due to overcharging. Large battery sizes are also not useful since charging can prove difficult. In the end, it will have an overall capacity that will not meet the energy needs of your tiny house.

Factors to Consider Before Buying a Solar Kit for your Tiny House

Grid-tied System or Batteries

1. Grid-tied System or Batteries

Before spending money on a solar panel, you must figure out what you need. Do you want a grid-tied system or self-contained battery bank? Most tiny homeowners prefer the grid-tied system over the batteries. This because batteries are quite expensive and may not be in line with your budget. Furthermore, batteries have to be replaced regularly thus proving costly.

2. Installation

Solar panels need to be installed in the most suitable location. You should, therefore, make prior arrangements on where you want to install the system. The area that you choose must not have shade as it reduces the energy output of your array. Furthermore, you will have to make use of the most suitable brackets depending on the panel. The stronger the brackets, the easier your solar panel will withstand windy conditions.

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SOLAR PANELS

3. Uniformity

Tiny house owners should make sure that the panels have a uniform size. Otherwise, they will end up producing different quantities of energy at different rates. This action, in turn, throws off your inverter or controller leading to huge losses.

4. Buffer

The efficiency of solar panels is subject to environmental weather conditions. To make it more secure and efficient, you will have to purchase an extra buffer. This additional buffer can thus account for cloudy days hence guaranteeing enough energy.

Buffer

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Best Solar Panel Kits for Tiny Houses

There are many solar panels for tiny homes in the market. However, you must consider your energy needs and your financial muscle before choosing one. Here are some of the options that you can put into consideration:

1. Grape Solar 400-Watt Off-Grid Solar Panel Kit

If you are looking for something smaller, then this Solar Panel Kit will do the trick. With this kit, you can get enough energy to power your electronics. Furthermore, you can have enough energy that can be relied upon by one more person in your tiny house.

One notable advantage of this panel kit is its lower price. Tiny house owners who need it will therefore not have to dig deeper into their pockets. In addition to this, you can expand the kit if you happen to need more energy. Unfortunately, the kit does not come with its mounting brackets. You, therefore, have to buy the mounting brackets separately thus incurring more costs.

Grape Solar 400-Watt Off-Grid Solar Panel Kit

2. Lodge 6.8 KW 24 Panel Solar World off Grid Solar Panel

Lodge 6.8 KW 24 Panel Solar World off Grid Solar Panel

This solar panel has a total wattage of 6840 and thus can meet most of your tiny home power requirements. To make it even better, it comes with everything you need to install it on your tiny home.

Unfortunately, many tiny homeowners may shun away from the Lodge solar kit. This is due to its large size that requires additional space. However, it is still a good system if you have a larger storage system.

3. Grape Solar 3750 Watt Expandable Solar Kit

Do you plan to expand your solar array soon? If the answer to this question is “Yes,” then the Grape Solar 3750 Watt is what you need. The system makes it easy for you to meet the energy needs of a growing family or new appliances. By purchasing this kit, you can add new panels onto your system as demand grows. Your tiny house will therefore never run out of power no matter how many appliances you own.

The Grape Solar 3750 Watt Expandable Solar Kit comes with its mounting brackets. You should therefore never worry about the safety of your system. Unfortunately, it is quite expensive, and the maintenance costs are slightly higher. Furthermore, the connections can make some lines to lose power. This is especially the case when you do not rely on a professional.

Grape Solar 3750 Watt Expandable Solar Kit

4. Goal Zero Yeti 1250

Goal Zero Yeti 1250

With a Goal Zero Yet 1250 Solar panel, you can transverse the country without facing any problems. It comes with its solar generator that you can charge. You will, therefore, enjoy a continuous supply of power even when there is no sunlight. Besides, the solar panel is portable and tiny house owners can travel with them.

However, this solar panel will not meet all your energy needs despite having a low price tag. You can, therefore, buy additional energy appliances if you are not in a financial crisis. Some of the appliances that you can buy include a wood stove heater or propane stove.

Conclusion

Living off the grid while relying on solar panels suits the tiny house lifestyle.  This is because it showcases a simple way of living that focuses on minimizing cost. Additionally, you can travel in your THOW without having to worry about the source of power. However, tiny enthusiasts must examine the challenge posed by solar panels. These challenges such as lack of enough sunlight can make your life a living hell.

Owners of tiny houses need to prepare themselves on how to manage their power. By doing so, it becomes easier for one to get the sources of energy that meets their home requirements. In the end, you can start embarking on an off-grid adventure.

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