solar power tiny home

Going Solar in Your Tiny Home

People move into tiny homes for dozens of reasons.

They want to downsize or simplify, travel with their home, or enjoy nature more by being off the grid. Each homeowner has their reasons for choosing a minimal home, and their homes reflect their unique personality and lifestyle.

Similarly, choosing to harness solar energy to power your home—no matter its size—is a personal choice, and there are options and packages for everyone. Happily, that includes residents of tiny homes. Tiny Heirloom, a manufacturer of customized luxury tiny homes, recognizes that each homeowner is different, and also celebrates these differences.

If you’re thinking about going solar, the first step that we at Home Improvement Leads suggest is to take your lifestyle into consideration. Do you want to go fully off the grid, or just try to reduce the cost of electricity substantially? Will you need battery or generator back-up? How often do you use electronic devices? Are you a night owl who needs light to work late into the night? One benefit of living in less space means that it requires less energy to keep it running. Opting for solar power doesn’t mean you have to eschew modern conveniences like electricity, but it is important to be realistic about your expectations behind installing solar panels. Once you understand how solar energy can work with your lifestyle, you’re ready to plan out where the panels will be installed.

The location of your solar panels is one of the most important factors. Find a spot where your solar panels will receive the most direct sunlight during the day. Make sure this spot isn’t shaded by tall trees, your home, or anything else that would interrupt the path of the sun. Generally, south-facing locations are best, but again this depends upon any barriers between the sun and the solar panels. Remember, depending on your climate you may experience a significant number of cloudy days. Solar panels are still effective during cloudy or foggy days, producing 10-25% of their full capacity. Keeping your solar panels clean will ensure that your panels are receiving the most sunlight possible—even on cloudy days.

Solar Panels

After you’ve considered your goals for going solar in your tiny home and you’ve found a potential space to install the panels, it’s time to choose a solar package. Tiny Heirloom’s solar packages vary.

Their “basic” set is actually plentiful, and boasts the following:

  • A 2,800W inverter
  • One smart battery charger
  • Six batteries
  • A transfer switch
  • One solar controller
  • One 400W solar panel.

If you’re looking to go completely off the grid, opt for their upgraded Off-Grid package, which includes all of the above (the “basic” setup), as well as:

  • A 300W inverter
  • 8 double capacity batteries
  • 2400W worth of solar panels
  • An off-grid propane refrigerator
  •  Off-grid A/C

Their commitment to bringing solar energy to the tiny home community, and catering it to your needs is evident from the get-go. They understand that choosing to live in a tiny home means different things to different people: freedom, security, self-reliance, and privacy. Choosing solar power can mean just as much, if not more, for your way of life.

By: Laura Trujillo

Comments 26

  1. I’m a mobility impaired army veteran. I would like my home to be completely off grid. For me it would mean having of my small income in the bank rather than buying bills.

  2. I see that off-grid would require 6 of the 400W solar panels you call out in the Basic pkg. In both instances, can you explain, are these panels are racked, and carried with you? Or installed directly on the house? And if the latter, ‘where’ are they installed? Six panels seems like to would detract from the house’s looks.
    Thanks.

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  3. And Laura, for the upgraded off-grid package, your tiny home owners will also need the EasyStart soft starter for their air conditioner to allow it to start up on the inverter power. Can’t wait to see that Tiny Luxury episode this fall!

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  4. Can you mount the solar panels directly onto the top of the tiny home? Is there anyway to live solely off of solar and wind powered energy? I would love to live off grid w/out propane if it’s is at all possible.

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  5. I’m looking to buy a tiny home but I am low on money is there any way that u can sell me one that has like a small defect or something for cheap or if you have any used that u can sell me

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  6. hi there, Melissa here. Am really thinking about going tiny. Luv your show.
    My daughter graduates next year making us able to move more freely. Figure she will eventually move off, maybe. But until that time. We have 2 dogs, one husky one pug. And a cat. Don’t want to spend alot on a tiny home. Our home is close to 1900 sq ft. I know it will be a big change. Would really like to see a tiny home in person before making that big of a jump. Do ya’ll know of any in Texas to look at? Or try??

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      First steps are to secure financing, and a location to park your tiny heirloom then head over to our contact page and we can help you build your dream home.

  7. My husband is active duty military. Therefor we have to move and it is not worth purchasing a regular house. We are paying 1250/mth for a 2 bedroom apartment. We have been watching some of the tiny home shows on TV and am interested in looking into them further. We are in Texas at this point. What would you suggest our first steps should be?

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      Sounds like going tiny would be a great alternative for you! Head over to our contact page and send us your info and we will be in touch.

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  8. My husband and I live in Oregon City, OR with the crazy rise in the housing market we are starting to really like the idea for a tiny home compared to having to purchasing a regular house. We have been watching some of the tiny home shows on TV and we are really interested in looking into them further.

  9. Hi there!! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, what you all are doing. Your homes are gorgeous!! I’m going to retire in the next year and I’m interested in one if your tinyheirlooms, but I’m also interested in purchasing enough land for my home with future potential for a very small talk tiny heirloom community where others can rent space to park their tiny homes. I read on your website that you’re looking for land to do the same thing, but I don’t know what areas you’re interested in. AND……..I JUST DON’T KNOW WHERE OR HOW TO START. Any advice on How I could start researching my idea? I’m in the Arlington/Mansfield, Texas area, and , very close to Waxahachie. Thanks in advance. I’m very excited about this idea!!!

  10. Hi team – love your philosophy and style. The thing is my family and I live in Melbourne, Australia and we are looking into tiny homes for a weekender to enjoy in the high country off-grid.

    The tiny house movement here is either basic or high end modular prefab so keen to understand if your work can be shipped international?

  11. Enjoyed watching your show last night, with the idea of getting my wife on board. I think when she seen your program it made her think that it might work for us.
    Thanks again for great show and great product>

  12. I’m currently saving up to build my tiny home, but do not want it on wheels. We are looking to buy the land first and then build the tiny house on the land. Would you be able to build the tiny home and then ship it to our land so we can put it on our foundation?

    We are going to go completely solar, use a composting toilet, but use connected water either from the county line or well water. We take baths and don’t think we would like to lug water all the time.

    1. Hi there Sara! Currently we don’t build any homes that can be attached to a permanent foundation, but we do build park model homes that are quite a bit bigger than our typical custom tiny homes and are designed for a more long term space. We’ve built one for a couple in Hawaii on a trailer 14′ wide and 38′ long. This home can be shipped to your property for an additional fee given it’s size. However, our usual custom homes are on wheels, but can be shipped free of charge to your property anywhere within the contiguous states! 🙂 Feel free to click the link and fill out the contact form. From there you will be able to schedule the best time for us to reach out to you so we can discuss all of your great ideas and options! You can also get a free personalized estimate!

      Link to contact form: http://www.tinyheirloom.com/take-action/

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