A SolMan Classic Portable Solar Generator powers a Tiny Home. Photo courtesy of SolSolutions.
How will you power your Tiny House RV? The easiest way is to connect directly to the grid, but that’s not possible in every parking situation. What if you’d like to camp in the desert, a national park, or deep in the forest? Or perhaps you’ve purchased a piece of land that has not been (or can not be) connected to city power. In these cases, you’ll need to generate your own electricity with an off-grid power source.
I have traveled over 25,000 miles with my Tiny House RV. When it comes to parking, flexibility is key! That’s why I designed my tiny to be off-grid. For this article, I’ll be discussing two types of off-grid power generators: gas and solar.
The most common type of off-grid generator is the gas powered generator. I’m sure you’ve encountered one of these at some point in your life. As long as you have access to gas, these generators can provide ample electricity to power your Tiny House RV. The downside? Noise and fuel expense.
Several companies produce gas powered generators of varying power generating capabilities. A few popular brands include: Honda, Yamaha and Dometic. Let’s review the specs of the popular Honda EU 2000i gas generator.
Cost: $949. Keep in mind this does not include the cost of gas or a battery system.
Weight: 46 lbs.
Power Capacity: 1600 watts
Run Time: 9.6 Hours On 1 Gallon Of Fuel. The built in inverter in this unit will auto adjust the engine speed to the optimum level depending on load, making this gas generator very efficient.
Other Details: Some campgrounds do not allow or limit the use of gas generators due to noise.
Solar generators charge an internal battery using solar panels. I use Goal Zero’s Yeti 1250 Solar Generator for electricity when I’m off-grid. This system can power almost everything in my tiny abode, aside from my hair dryer and my space heater. When off-grid I tend to use my wood stove for heat and I skip drying my hair (yes, some sacrifices are made for energy efficiency).
Cost: $1999 for the kit, including generator and two 30 watt solar panels. I have two 90 watt solar panels in my system, which was a little more expensive. The Yeti 1250 has a 240w charging maximum.
Weight: 116 lbs.
Power Capacity: 1250 watts
Run time: As long as you have sun, this generator can continue to recharge itself. I’ve lasted a week using this system and being careful about my energy usage. Without sun, the battery will drain relatively quickly depending on your power usage. Check out the table at the bottom of this webpage for reference.
Other Details: No noise, no fumes, no gasoline, no wasted power.
*Another solar generator to watch out for is the GRENGINE. Advertising at the same price as the Yeti 1250, this solar generator weighs only 24 lbs.
Jenna Spesard built a Tumbleweed in 2014 and traveled with it for one year. She clocked over 25,000 miles, and now parks in a Tiny House Village. She writes about the Tiny House Movement on her blog Tiny House Giant Journey.