solar panels and tiny homes

What You Need to Know About Solar Panels and Tiny Homes

Solar panels and tiny homes go together beautifully.

Did you know that more than two in three tiny house owners don't have any mortgage? Or that tiny homes on foundation less than 500 square feet in size appreciate up to 10% faster than the average property?

Those two benefits alone may be enough to explain the huge growth in the tiny house movement.

That's not all, though; tiny homes also use less than a tenth of the energy used by typical houses. The average tiny house uses just a little more than 900 kilowatts (kW) of energy a year. By contrast, the average US home consumes more than 12,700 kW a year.

With such a low energy consumption, the use of solar panels in tiny houses does make a lot of sense. By going solar, tiny homeowners can eliminate their energy bills.

If you plan to live in a tiny house, you may be considering investing in solar panels. Be sure to read on to learn what to expect if you decide to utilize solar energy.

solar panels

The Number of Solar Panels You Need for Your Tiny Home

On average, one solar panel can generate 250 to 400 watts of energy in an hour. Of course, this depends on how sunny it is and where exactly you place your panels. For this reason, your tiny home's roof is the best installation spot.

In any case, let's assume that each of your panels can generate 300 watts per hour. Let's also say that you live somewhere where you can get 5 full hours of sun. In this case, each of your panels can generate 1.5 kW throughout that period.

Now, suppose your tiny home's average daily energy use amounts to 5 kW. If you want to go 100% solar to eliminate your energy bills, you need at least four solar panels. If you use 10 kW of energy each day, then you must have at least seven panels.

Consequently, it's important to calculate your power needs based on what appliances and electronics you plan to use. Many solar companies offer calculators to help you determine how many panels you need, as well as battery storage.

Some Tiny Homes Can Qualify for the Federal Solar Tax Incentive

Supposedly, the federal residential solar tax incentive was to drop to 22% by 2021. In December 2020, though, Congress extended the 26% credit for two more years. So, if you get your solar panels before 2023, your legally placed movable tiny house or tiny home on a foundation can qualify for the 26% tax break.

There Are State and Local Incentives Too

A perfect example is California, home to over 1.2 million solar installations. The Golden State has always had the most solar panel systems installed throughout the US. After all, the state has a bevy of solar programs, such as local permit rebates and net metering.

Another example is Richmond, VA. According to, the city has local solar rebates, too. For starters, tiny house owners can sign up for net metering offered by utility providers.

Many other states and municipalities run these offers, so be sure to check them out. Your tiny house may qualify for more than just the federal tax break.

Solar Technology Can Power Entire Tiny Homes

Tiny homes often use a lot less energy than average houses so that they can benefit the most from solar energy. Plus, today's high-quality solar panels can now last anywhere from two to three decades. This means you can reduce or even eliminate your energy bills for the next 20 to 30 years!

All that should be enough reason to go with solar, one of the cleanest, most renewable energy sources.

Keep in mind panels are just one piece of a fully-functional solar power system. You need batteries, inverters, etc. Fortunately, you can now find plug-in-play kits to simplify the install.

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