Can You Put Solar Panels On A Mobile Home? (Find Out Now!)

Upgraded Home Team
by Upgraded Home Team

These days, people are looking for any way they can find to save money. Many of those same people are also looking for ways to preserve their environment. Solar panels have been a proven way to provide much of the needed power to run a home since the 1980s.

Because photovoltaic panels are very heavy, very few mobile homes are suitable for supporting them, but other options for solar-powered electricity include simply going with a very small array of smaller PV panels on your roof, installing PV panels on a sturdy structure, such as a detached garage, using a ground-mounted PV system, or even choosing solar roof shingles.

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Can Mobile Homes Be Powered by Solar Energy?

Around 1839, it was discovered that certain materials would produce electricity when exposed to light. It was around 37 years later when the discovery was made that selenium exposed to light produced energy. It was yet another 100 years before the first practical solar cell was patented using silicon.

In the 60s and 70s, efficiency levels rose from 1-2% to around 10%, and solar-powered watches and calculators became available for purchase. By the 80s, solar power was available to the average American, and tax credits and incentives for installing renewable energy sources in the home were made available through federal acts. Solar power continues to grow in popularity and to shrink in price per watt.

Is It Possible to Install Solar Panels on a Mobile Home?

Mobile homes are not really suitable for PV panels (solar panels that produce electricity), because they are very heavy and must meet certain specifications. Plus, in many places, solar panels are not legal on mobile homes or in mobile home (trailer) parks. However, there are options for mobile homeowners.

An enclosed patio or detached garage, in many cases, can be suitable for installing solar panels to supply electricity for your mobile home. You could also choose a ground-mounted photovoltaic system, but much yard space is needed for this option. A very popular option is solar roof shingles, which can save some mobile homeowners up to 60% on electricity costs, and there are also solar-powered water heaters.

How to Install Solar Panels on a Mobile Home

With mobile homes, you are limited as to what you can do as far as installing solar panels. You do have a few options.

Small Rooftop Array

Because the structure of a mobile home cannot support a full array of photovoltaic panels as a traditional home can, often mobile homeowners must settle for only a small photovoltaic array on the rooftop. Just a few PV panels are enough to make a difference in your electric bills. While this can be a do-it-yourself job, it may be a good idea to hire a professional roofer to inspect and reassure you that your roof can handle the weight of the array you plan to add.

Ground-Mounted Solar-Powered System

Ground-mounted solar-powered systems will work in any spot that’s open and sunny. They are placed on metal pole mounts either on standard rack mounts or close to the ground. The great thing about ground-mounted solar-powered systems is that they can be tilted and oriented to the exact position that maximizes their photovoltaic output, unlike mobile home rooftop installations.

Portable Solar Kit

If your rooftop won’t support PV panels, and you have a small yard, you are left with one more workable option for solar energy for your mobile home – a portable solar kit. These kits can be sized to accommodate the amount of energy needed, and many contain generators and battery storage systems for a backup energy source. You can also put regular PV system components on a portable small trailer or platform.

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Related Questions

Can You Put Solar Panels on Park Homes?

Park homes are a newer type of manufactured housing. Let’s look into whether park homes can have solar panels.

What Are Park Homes?

Park homes or park model RVs (PMRVs) are factory-built homes. Though they are not manufactured homes or RVs, they are built to RV industry code. However, they are usually manufactured in the same factories where manufactured homes are made. Thus, the rules of quality and design for mobile homes apply.A PMRV is defined as a unique trailer-type RV by the RVIA (Recreational Vehicle Industry Association). According to the RVIA, a PMRV is designed for providing temporary accommodations and can be used for camping, recreational, or seasonal use. They are constructed on a single chassis, have wheels and a gross trailer area not greater than 400 square feet when in set-up mode.PMRVs are designed primarily for long-term placement at a place where mobile homes or RVs are allowed, such as mobile home parks (trailer parks). When setting up a park home, the necessary utilities need to be set up just as in a traditional home.

Can You Put Solar Panels in Park Homes?

Many park home sites do not have access to natural gas, so economical heating can be an issue. Therefore, the main alternatives are electric and bottled gas, but bottled gas can be quite costly. Electric heating is not as efficient as gas, but it would be easier to use than bottled gas.To reduce electricity bills, solar panels can be fitted to park homes. Since around 2010, owners of traditional homes have taken advantage of incentives and tax credits available for using solar power.

How Many Solar Panels Does it Take to Power a Mobile Home?

With no extra appliances running and the stove running on propane gas, a 750 square-foot mobile home will run on an average of around 4,500 watts per day. This means you would need 15×300-watt photovoltaic panels to power it. It may seem like you could get by with less, but while you could get by with fewer panels at certain times of the day, fewer panels would not provide the power needed to run the mobile home all day long.Besides needing photovoltaic panels, you should also have batteries, a charge controller, and an inverter to fully power your mobile home. You should also consider a surge protector, system control panel, circuit breakers, and essential cables and connectors. If at all possible, choose ground-mounted solar-power for your mobile home, as it’s most practical.

Are Solar Panels Illegal Anywhere?

In the United States, solar power is legal and possibly even a constitutionally-protected right, but state and local governments have the power to dictate how your solar-powered system is designed and installed. Some are considering taxing those who generate their energy themselves.

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Upgraded Home Team
Upgraded Home Team

We are a team of passionate homeowners, home improvement pros, and DIY enthusiasts who enjoy sharing home improvement, housekeeping, decorating, and more with other homeowners! Whether you're looking for a step-by-step guide on fixing an appliance or the cost of installing a fence, we've here to help.

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