After the housing market crashed, Mario Soto decided to use his remaining savings to downsize to a smaller, more affordable living situation. Being a tech guru, Mario built himself a super high-tech Tiny House. His house is full of gadgets and gizmos, including two big screen televisions, an air conditioning unit, and a smart skylight. Even with his high-demand energy needs, Mario is able to power his Tiny House RV with solar! This article briefly showcases his system and discusses where you should mount your solar panels.
Mario’s solar system includes six 290 watt SolarWorld solar panels and Aquion Energy salt water batteries. His panels are attached to the side of the house and mounted on a hinge. While in transport, the panels hug the exterior wall, tucked under the eaves. When parked, Mario pivots the panels towards the sun for optimal efficiency.
Where Should You Mount Solar Panels on your Tiny House?
There is much debate about the perfect mounting location for solar panels on mobile Tumbleweeds. Although roof mounting is popular on traditional homes, there are several reasons why you may not want to do this on a Tiny House RV.
The first reason has to do with transportation. Mounting to your roof will make your Tiny House RV a few inches taller. Depending on your design, a few inches can put you over road legal limits (13’6″). Many roof-mounted solar panels have been damaged by low-hanging branches or road signs while in being towed, so don’t take the risk if your Tiny House RV is already built to the maximum height. Secondly, you may need to clean your panels daily, especially after transport. Climbing on the roof of a Tiny House RV isn’t always easy; You may prefer a more accessible location. Lastly, mounting solar panels on your roof will limit your parking opportunities. You can not park in the shade if you have roof-mounted solar panels.
Ultimately, where you decide to mount your solar panels is your decision, but it is important to consider all of the above.
Share your solar power advice in the comments!
*All photos featured in this article were courtesy of Mario & Ciarra Soto
*Follow Mario on Instagram for more information on his solar system setup
Article by Jenna Spesard
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.