Solar Power for Tiny House

/Solar Power for Tiny House
Solar Power for Tiny House2018-11-03T14:18:23+00:00

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Adding Solar Power to your Tiny House

Solar Panels

Add Solar Power to your tiny home.

Adding Solar Power to your tiny house can be confusing, daunting, and expensive. The reward is independence from the power grid and the satisfaction of knowing you are producing your own clean energy.

Buy Solar Panels Wholesale at GoGreenSolar.com

Here is a link to a website full of good information. You can learn about solar power and get competing quotes.

Solar Power is a huge topic

Many websites and books are devoted to the topic of solar power. We will point you to the best resources rather then “reinvent the wheel.”

How Many Solar Panels Do I Need?

tiny house volatage testerTest each of your appliances exact power usage with this FLOUREON Power Meter Plug Energy Electricity Usage Monitorpower tester



 

Things to consider:

  1. Will you be on-grid or off-grid?
    • An Off-Grid Solar System will require expensive batteries for storage and more solar panels.
      • Batteries are super heavy and need to be in a sealed, properly vented area to prevent poisonous gasses coming into living area.
      • You will also need a generator as backup when you can’t generate or save enough power.
  2. How much power do you need?
      • Carefully design your tiny home to use as little power as possible.
      • When calculating energy requirements don’t forget hidden devices like your water pump, vent fans, and heat tape on the water pipes, vent fan for composting toilet.
      • Divert everything you can to another power source.
      • Heating elements are the biggest power guzzler. Use propane to power your heater, cloths dryer, kitchen stove, and water heater.
      • Select appliances, lighting, TV’s, etc. with the lowest energy requirements.
      • Forget about a Mini-Split air conditioner.
  3. Where and how will you mount your solar panels. They must face the sun directly to get the best result. If you mount them on the roof you would need to orient your tiny house so the solar panels face the south. You’ll need to watch your height limit in your design. This will lower the head height in your loft.


Federal Solar Tax Credit and other Renewable Energy Incentives

Buy Solar & Take Advantage Off The 30% Federal Tax Credit

Batteries for Solar Power system:

Off-Grid Solar

Recommended Solar Power Book

Batteries will undoubtedly be the most expensive part of the solar system for your tiny home. There are several types of batteries now in use. Each has it’s pro’s and con’s.

  • Lead Acid batteries have been around for ever. Every car has one. While they are the least expensive they are poorly suited to solar use. Lead acid batteries can be easily damaged by overcharging and over discharging. You should only discharge them about 50%. They emit very toxic gas when charging. As the name implies, Lead-Acid batteries are very heavy.
    • The EnergyCell Nano Carbon  Regulated Lead Acid battery is designed for partial state of charge renewable energy systems that do not receive enough sunlight to consistently charge batteries to their full capacity. Over time this can damage the batteries and reduce the life and capacity of the batteries. The use of carbon nano batteries can increase the life cycle of the batteries by 44% and freedom from electrolyte maintenance.

 

  • Lithium-Ion batteries have a longer lifespan and are not bothered as much by under or over charging. They are smaller and lighter weight. Lithium-ion batteries cost more but last longer. These are not the ones that blow-up when being charged. These are the type I currently recommend.
    • Battery Hack: Electric cars and hybrids have awesome Lithium-Ion batteries. Check your local junk yard to see if there are any crashed vehicles. Chances are the batteries are still intact and can be purchased very cheaply.

 

  • Saltwater: Saltwater batteries are a new development. Made with non-toxic materials they should be less expensive and more optimized for solar storage. They are only made by one company right now but we look for great things from this new technology in the future.

Solar system charge controllerAdding a Charge Controller to your Tiny Home Solar System

Your solar cells production will vary based on weather, temperature, and power consumption.  A charge controller maximizes battery charging efficiency while protecting your batteries against overcharging and over discharging.

Solar system Inverter

Solar System Inverter

The last critical piece in your solar power puzzle is an Inverter

The inverter is responsible for DC to AC conversion. These inverters are specially designed to take the fluctuating direct current output of solar cells into a steady, utility quality alternating current that can be safely used by standard household appliances and consumer electronics.

Putting it all together:

Designing your solar system requires some serious understand of electronics, electricity, and solar design. I highly recommend visiting the websites linked hear so they can design a solar system for you. They know this is hard and the right equipment working together is critical for a good outcome.

Start with a Solar Power Kit

tiny house solar power kit

4kW Solar Power Kit

Designed for modest power and energy storage requirement off-grid applications, the SystemEdge Cabin Series is perfect for off-grid weekend cabins or modest-load permanent residences.

All packages include a factory pre-wired and tested FLEXpower Radian, EnergyCell batteries, Integrated Battery Rack, FLEXware ICS PV combiner box, OPTICS RE web enabled monitoring and control and all necessary connection hardware.

Featuring the 4kW FLEXpower Radian (FPR- 4048A) and eight (8) EnergyCell Nano Carbon batteries, the SystemEdge 420-NC is ideal for smaller power applications—including homes, cabins, and tiny homes.

Here is a YouTube® video about installing this kit: