Many people are seeking to simplify their lives and reduce their monthly living expenses while at the same time reducing their impact on the environment and climate. The living “tiny” has gained popularity over the years and is centered on how one lives and the type of structure they live in. The houses they live in, is what we are referring to as tiny houses.
Tiny houses feature most of the features that a regular house has. However, they’re designed in such a way as to be more compact while providing the same comforts a regular home provides. With tiny houses also comes electricity bills but how can you manage to make your electric bill as minimal as possible?
Solar power is the answer to the above question.
Doesn’t matter if you are permanently attached to the grid or moving around with intermittent access to the grid. There are options available for you to add solar power to your tiny home.
Grid-tied tiny house
Grid-tied solar is the ideal option for you if you have a permanent location with access to the electric grid and a good sunny spot. The solar panels can be placed on the roof, out in the yard, on a pole or you can mount it on the ground.
If you are already connected to the electric grid, knowing how much power your tiny home needs is easy, simply check how much KWH you use, on your monthly electric bill.
With grid-tied solar system you can make solar electricity during the day, use what you need and sell the rest back to the grid. Then at night you simply buy the power back. Your utility meter will spin back and forth depending whether you are buying or selling energy. This is known as NetMetering. At the end of the month you may still have some energy remaining to use. This is especially possible in cases when the weather is not so conducive.
An advantage of using the grid-tied solar is that you don’t have to make all your energy with solar. If you can’t afford to install the seven solar panels, you can just install what you can afford. You will make less energy with solar and buy the rest from the grid. No worries though you will still have all the energy you need.
Off-Grid tiny house
If your tiny house is on the move, in a remote area with no access to the electric grid or you just don’t want to connect to the grid then the off-grid solar system is for you. With off-grid solar you make all your energy during the day from the sun and store it in batteries to use when you need it. During winter when there is no sun you will need to supplement with a generator to charge your batteries.
Many off grid systems can connect to the grid if it’s available, and charge the batteries if the solar energy isn’t enough. But the difference is you can’t sell power back to the grid, you store it. This can be convenient during a bad stretch of weather.
Determining how much energy you need with off-grid solar system requires due diligence compared to a grid-tied solar system. As we have seen above if your grid-tied solar system cannot support all your loads, you just buy what you need from the grid. With off-grid you are on your own if you didn’t store enough energy during the day.