If you’re considering installing solar-powered mobile homes, there are several key factors you should know about. Solar panels for mobile homes can be a great option, offering energy independence, cost savings, and environmental benefits.
In this complete manual, we will discuss the benefits of using solar panels for mobile homes and provide some installation tips including：
- Types of solar panels for mobile homes
- Number of solar panels you need
- Cost of solar panel installation
- Tips for installation and maintenance
- How many solar panels for mobile homes are needed？
Do Solar Panels Work for Mobile Homes?
Can you put solar panels on a mobile home？ Solar panels can be used in mobile homes and change how people live. Solar panels can provide mobile homeowners with a reliable, clean, and economical source of electricity, especially in remote or rural areas where grid access may be limited or costly.
Can solar panels be installed on a manufactured home？ Solar panels can also increase the value and comfort of mobile homes and reduce dependence on fossil fuels and greenhouse gas emissions.
Pros And Cons of Solar Panels for Mobile Homes
- Save on electric bill: Solar panels can eliminate or reduce your electric bill, saving you a lot of money in the long run. You may also be eligible for a federal tax credit of up to 30% of the cost of a new residential solar system from the U.S. government, as well as other possible government incentives.
- Achieve energy independence: Solar energy can free you from the high cost of connecting to the grid and reduce the impact of unpredictable energy costs and an increasingly unreliable power grid. Solar panels can help you reduce your dependence on aging infrastructure
- Protect the environment: the environmental benefits of solar systems are enormous. Electricity generation accounts for 25% of all greenhouse gas emissions. It is in everyone’s best interest to stop burning fossil fuels to generate electricity. Wind and solar energy can provide unlimited energy that we can use to power everything from a single mobile home to an entire mobile home park, resulting in environmental benefits and lower electricity costs.
- High initial purchase and installation costs: The purchase of solar system components and mobile home utility hookup cost a large sum of money that may be beyond the budget of many mobile homeowners.
- Varying dependencies: portable power stations can store a lot of power, but relying solely on mobile home add on kits can leave you in the lurch if you can’t generate enough power to meet your needs.
- Space constraints: Even if you don’t have to worry about taking up any interior space with a rooftop solar panel installation, the components of a balanced system can be quite large, especially with cheaper options. Sungold Solar can offer solar powered mobile home all-in-one solutions that won’t take up much space.
- Battery costs: If your system relies on lead-acid batteries that require frequent maintenance and replacement, the costs can be high.
You can overcome these challenges by investing in the right system. The financial, personal, and environmental benefits of solar energy far outweigh any drawbacks, Pros＞Cons.
Solar Panels for Mobile Homes: Which Is Better？
Lightweight solar panels for mobile homes
-Flexibility: bendable and flexible, making them suitable for curved surfaces or unconventional installations.
-Lightweight: flexible solar panels are more suitable for poor-loading roofs, mounting lightweight solar panels for mobile homes roof will reduce the overall weight of your home, decreasing relocation cost
-Low-light Performance: performs relatively well in low-light conditions
Portable solar panels for mobile homes
-Mobility: portable solar panels are designed for easy transport and setup, making them ideal for mobile homes that may change locations frequently.
-Versatility: comes with adjustable stands or the ability to be mounted in different ways, providing flexibility in capturing sunlight.
-Convenience: easy to set up and take down, making them convenient for on-the-go power needs.
Rigid solar panels for mobile homes
-Efficiency: high efficiency, generates more power in a smaller space
-Durability: typically more durable and have a longer lifespan
-Space Efficiency: space efficiency, can be an important consideration for mobile homes where roof space may be limited.
What Is the Best Solar Panel for A Mobile Home?
The best solar panels for mobile homes depend on your specific needs, budget, and mobile home features.
Installation area: If your mobile home has limited roof space or is irregularly shaped, flexible panels may be more suitable. Portable panels can be placed on the ground or other surfaces.
Mobility requirements: If you expect to move frequently, portable panels may be more convenient. However, if your mobile home will be stationary for a long period, flexibility of installation may be a priority.
Energy efficiency: If maximizing power generation is a priority and you have enough roof space, monocrystalline panels may be the best choice.
Budget: Considering budgetary constraints, flexible panels and portable units may be more cost-effective than traditional monocrystalline panels.
So, when selecting a solar panel for a mobile home:
- For the most direct charging, you can choose portable solar panels that are simpler to install and use
- For a fixed installation, you can choose monocrystalline solar panels that are durable and have a long lifespan
- If the roof of your mobile home isn’t a standard flat surface or if you don’t want to install heavy panels because of the installation, you can choose to install thin-film solar panels
In short, what suits you is the best.
How Many Solar Panels to Run A Mobile Home？
How many solar panels for mobile homes are needed？ The average electricity consumption of a mobile home is 4,500 watts per day, 80% of which is consumed by air conditioning and heating. If you want to meet this electricity demand with solar panels, you need to consider the following factors:
- Efficiency of the solar panel: this depends on the brand, model, material, etc. of the solar panel. Generally speaking, the efficiency of solar panels on the market is between 20% and 23%, which means that each square meter of solar panels can convert 20% to 23% of solar energy into electricity.
- Area of solar panels: this depends on the size and shape of the roof of your mobile home. Generally, mobile homes have flat or slightly sloping roofs, which are favorable for installing solar panels. However, you also need to consider the weight of the solar panels as the roof of the mobile home may not be strong enough.
- Orientation and angle of the solar panels: this depends on the location and orientation of your mobile home. Generally, solar panels should face south and have a proper inclination to receive maximum solar radiation. You also want to avoid solar panels being shaded by trees, buildings, etc.
- Working hours of the solar panel: this depends on the sunshine hours and seasonal changes in your area. Generally, solar panels work for 5 to 6 hours a day, which means that each solar panel is capable of generating 5 to 6 hours of rated electricity per day. However, in winter or cloudy weather, the working hours of solar panels will be reduced.
Based on the above factors, we can estimate how many solar panels of different power ratings are needed to run a mobile home. Assuming that the solar panels have an efficiency of 20%, an area of 1 square meter, an optimal orientation and angle, and an operating time of 5.5 hours, then:
100-watt solar panel:
- Produces 550 watt-hours of electricity per day.
- 4,500 / 550 ≈ 8.18, so you would need about 8 panels.
200-watt solar panel:
- Produces 1,100 watt-hours of electricity per day.
- 4,500 / 1,100 ≈ 4.09, so you would need about 4 panels.
400-watt solar panel:
- Produces 2,200 watt-hours of electricity per day.
- 4,500 / 2,200 ≈ 2.05, so you would need about 2 panels.
- For 100-watt panels, you’d need about 8 panels.
- For 200-watt panels, you’d need about 4 panels.
- For 400-watt panels, you’d need about 2 panels.
In addition to the few influences mentioned in the calculations, the performance of solar panels will vary over time and with the environment. You also need to consider other components such as inverters, batteries, controllers, etc., which also affect the efficiency and cost of a solar system. Of course, you can also consult a professional solar panel manufacturer to provide you with a more specialized solar solution.
To determine the number of panels and their wattage, you should consider the size of your mobile home and its electricity consumption.
- Determine your mobile home’s square footage: Measure the length and width of your mobile home and multiply the two measurements to get the total square footage.
- Calculate the average daily electricity consumption: Multiply the square footage by 9 kWh, which represents the average kWh per square foot per day for a mobile home.
- Determine your desired solar panel wattage: Higher-rated power and efficiency panels are preferable as they generate more energy with fewer panels. Look for 400W rigid solar panels or 400W portable solar panels if you want to be able to move them around.
- Consider environmental factors: Environmental factors such as cloud cover, temperature, shade, and dirt/debris can impact solar energy production. Keep your panels clean and in sunlight as much as possible.
- Understand efficiency ratings: Solar panel efficiency refers to the panel’s capacity to convert sunlight into electricity. Higher efficiency panels will generate more electricity under any degree of sunlight.
- Evaluate your roof and space: Consider the structure and design of your roof to determine how many panels you can mount and what size and rated power output make the most sense. The available square footage receiving direct sunlight is crucial.
- Consult a professional: If you have doubts about the structural integrity of your roof, it is best to have it evaluated by a professional before purchasing and installing solar panels.
Remember, the number of panels and their wattage will ultimately depend on your specific energy needs and the available solar resources in your location.
The Cost of Installing Solar Panels on a Mobile Home
The cost of installing solar panels on a mobile home can vary widely based on several factors, including the size of your home, the number of panels needed, and the type of panels chosen. Generally, you can expect to pay anywhere from $5,000 to $35,000 for a complete solar panel system, with the average cost being around $10,000.
However, it’s important to note that the roof structure of mobile homes often isn’t designed to hold the weight of an entire solar installation. Some mobile homes can safely have solar installed, but it depends on local building codes and the structure of your home. If rooftop installation isn’t possible, there are alternatives such as ground-mounted systems or solar roof shingles, which have become more affordable recently.
For example, at the national average installation cost of $2.93 per watt, a 3.2kW installation would cost about $6,400 after the 30% federal tax credit （Energy Efficient Home Improvement Credit). Assuming the system lasts the standard 25 years, it would generate approximately 120,504 kWh over its lifetime
Tips for Installing Solar Panels on Your Mobile Home
If you decide to install solar panels on the tiny house of your mobile home, there are some important things to keep in mind. First, make sure that your roof is strong enough to support the weight of the panels. You may need to reinforce your roof before installing the panels. Secondly, you should hire a professional installer to ensure they install it correctly.
- Assess Your Energy Needs: Start by evaluating your energy requirements. Consider the appliances and devices you use in your mobile home and estimate your daily energy consumption. This will help determine the size and number of solar panels you must install.
- Available Space: Assess the available space on your mobile home for solar panel installation. Mobile homes have small roofs, so it’s important to position solar panels in the best way to use the space efficiently. Consider any potential shading issues from nearby trees or structures that could affect the panels’ performance.
- Roof Mounting vs. Ground Mounting: Roof mounting is a common option for mobile homes because of limited space. It involves securing the panels directly onto the roof surface. However, if you have sufficient ground space, you can consider ground mounting options like pole mounts or ground racks.
- Battery Storage: To make the most of solar energy, consider incorporating a battery storage system. This allows you to store excess electricity generated during the day for use during cloudy periods or at night. Even when sunlight is limited, battery storage maintains a consistent power supply.
- Financing Options: Explore financing options for your solar panel installation. Some states offer incentives, tax credits, or rebates for residential solar installations. Additionally, you can consider leasing or power purchase agreements (PPAs) if purchasing the panels outright is not feasible.
- Maintenance and Monitoring: Solar panels generally require minimal maintenance. Regularly inspect them for debris, dirt, or shading, and clean them if necessary. Monitoring systems can help track energy production and identify any potential issues.
- You can either stay connected to the grid or disconnect and be off-grid. This choice depends on your location and energy needs. Staying connected lets you rely on the grid when solar power is low or energy demand is high.
Aside from that, you can also improve the overall efficiency of your solar-powered mobile home with some TIPS:
- Seal furnace ducts and air leaks
- Schedule furnace tune-ups
- Adding insulation to the bottom of a mobile home
- Install interior storm windows
- Improve attic insulation
- Replace old light bulbs
- Add energy efficient window coverings
- Install a smart thermostat
What do I need to build a solar-powered mobile home?
Solar Panels: Convert sunlight into electricity.
Charge Controllers: Protect the battery bank from overcharging, and improve system efficiency.
Batteries: Store solar-generated energy for use during non-sunny periods.
Inverters: Convert stored DC electricity into AC electricity for home appliances.
Solar Racking: A mounting system for solar panels on the roof, ground, or pole.
Performance Monitoring Systems: Track power production and consumption.
Solar Battery Storage Units: Optional for storing excess energy, especially off-grid living.
The Cost of Solar Panels for Mobile Homes
The cost of solar panels for mobile homes depends on the size and type of the system, the location and orientation of the roof, and the available incentives and rebates. A typical 4 kW system can cost between $10,000 and $15,000 before incentives.
The payback period, or the time it takes for the system to pay for itself, varies depending on the electricity rates, the amount of sunlight, and the performance of the panels. The average payback period for residential solar systems is between 6 and 10 years, but it can be longer or shorter depending on the factors mentioned above.
Maintenance and Upkeep of Solar Panels for Moblie Homes
Regarding the maintenance and upkeep of solar panels, this is mainly to maintain the performance and lifespan of the solar panels and to avoid the reduction of power generation efficiency or damage due to dust, dirt, shading, corrosion, and other factors. Generally speaking, the maintenance and upkeep of solar panels include the following aspects:
Clean the surface of the solar panel regularly, using a soft cloth or sponge, and avoid hard or sharp tools or corrosive solvents. Cleaning should be done during periods of weak sunlight, such as in the morning or evening, to avoid high temperatures that can cause glass breakage or overheating of the cells.
Regularly check the brackets, connecting wires, connectors, and other parts of the solar panel to ensure that they are firm, intact, and free of corrosion, looseness, detachment, and other phenomena. If there is any damage or abnormality, they should be repaired or replaced in time.
Regularly test the photoelectric parameters and output power of solar panels to ensure the normal operation of solar panels. If there is any abnormality, the cause should be found and solved in time.
Avoid localized shading of the solar panel, such as tree branches, fallen leaves, bird droppings, etc., as this will lead to localized hot spot effects, reduce power generation efficiency, or even cause short circuits or fires.
If you would like to find out more about Solar Panels for Mobile Homes or ask for more professional advice, you can click on Sungold. We offer professional customized services for solar panels for caravans, RVs, trailers, tiny houses, and mobile homes.
Can you Install rooftop solar power panels on a mobile home?
Yes, you can install lightweight solar panels on a mobile home. The roof joists on a mobile home are small and not strong enough to hold traditional weight, but at 45% of the weight of rigid solar panels, you can enjoy the sun’s energy by installing lightweight solar panels for mobile homes.
Assuming you get permission from the building codes in your area.
How can a mobile homeowner adopt solar power?
If you are not allowed to put solar power on your mobile home roof, how can you use solar power?
You can also use ground-mounted solar panels. In most cases, a ground-mounted photovoltaic system is the smartest choice. This is because you can place it in the sunniest location and can maximize energy production.
Or with the portable solar panels we’ve mentioned, simply turn the mount on and adjust the angle to suit and you can start enjoying solar power, which is usually unaffected by building regulations.
Do solar panels have to be installed on one side of the mobile home?
No, solar panels do not need to be installed on one side of your mobile home. They can be placed anywhere on the roof where there is enough sunlight to reach them, both the front and the back.
When can I start installing solar panels on my mobile home?
Many mobile homeowners start installing solar panels before they move into their new home because it not only adds value to the property but also saves money! You can purchase solar panels for your mobile home during the build phase.