blog 02 februart 2020

Solar for Tiny Homes - Why Rent your power when you can own it?

With nearly 27 million Tiny House video views, millions of Tiny Home focused YouTube channel subscribers, close to half a million annual keyword searches and 687% growth over the last decade in keyword searches, the Tiny House movement is booming.

If you’re living in or planning to build a tiny house, you can cut your energy bills even further by generating your own clean, free electricity with solar panels...Why rent your power when you can own it?

One of the leaders in the off-grid solar power space is SolSolutions. With over a decade of designing and building quality off-grid systems for the residential, commercial and Tiny House market, SolSolutions has the opportunity to refine the process of going off-grid. Getting your Tiny Home outfitted with Solar has never been easier.

Solar power is the cheapest and most effective renewable energy on the market today, making it a great power match with the Tiny Home. Options for Tiny Home solar power include portable and fixed solar systems. Pairing solar power with efficient living is a natural fit.

There are two main types of Tiny House solar power systems for off-grid locations, a portable solar generator or an installed system. Generally, portable solar generators are recommended for Tiny Homeowners as they can be moved easily with the home, allow for solar tracking (see below) and fit with the efficient and mobile lifestyle of most Tiny Home residents.

Ideal off-grid Solar options for Tiny Homes point towards portable power systems based on owners’ desire to have the freedom to move the house if necessary or park the house under shade. This reduces the need to have fixed solar installations attached to the rooftop which would not be able to be moved without significant cost and effort. Instead, the panels can be placed directly on the ground where they gain the best sunlight, this term is often referred to as Solar tracking.

The SolMan series including the SolMan Classic and SolMan Flex Power Solar generators have been delivering off-grid solar power to Tiny Homes across the US for the last decade.

Releasing summer 2020... the SolMan 3000! The SolMan 3000 takes portable off grid power for Tiny Homes to the next level.

The SolMan 3000 runs clean and silent, allowing for placement next to or built onto your Tiny Home without smell or noise disruption.

The SolMan 3000 offers

  • Power...3000 watts of continuous power
  • Portability... small enough to fit in an SUV, truck, van or on the back of a Tiny Home
  • Connectivity... 30 amp AC input and Output power outlets
  • Useability...A graphic interface that is easy to control and monitor
  • Solar tracking... a 10 gauge 50’ electrical cord allows your panels to sit in the ideal sunny location
  • Hybrid applications... You can pair your SolMan 3000 with a gas generator to form a powerful hybrid system, capable of powering your Tiny Home even when the sun doesn’t shine.

Whether your Tiny House is far from the grid or you simply want your own power, separate from the grid, the SolMan 3000 solar generator has you covered.

SolSolutions can guide you through an energy load calculation worksheet so we have all we need to know to design or prescribe a system that works best for your Tiny Home needs. To to effectively utilize Tiny Home solar power as your main power source, it is critical to use energy efficient lighting and appliances.

If your Tiny Home will be more mobile and an integrated solution would be more ideal, then SolSolutions can design a custom solar system that fits your energy needs.

Is solar good for heating?

Cooking and heating the air or water consume a high amount of energy and will deplete your solar power system’s battery storage very fast unless you have a large enough system.

From a pure energy efficiency standpoint and for practical considerations, SolSolutions recommends using an alternative source for cooking or heating your air and water. Based on all the solar systems SolSolutions has installed in Tiny Homes, all of them used propane as propane.

The other high-energy draw application that is not recommended is air conditioning. Fans and swamp coolers are much more efficient ways of cooling your Tiny Home. If it is absolutely essential, having a hybrid system where using a gas generator to add power will help keep the system going during the peak loads. It is usually the hottest during the peak time of sun and as such cooling the air is more efficient than if you are heating the air.

In terms of lighting, LED lights are recommended as they maintain very little electric use and are super efficient. Other uses like personal electronics, video, computers, fans, smaller Energy Star rated refrigerators, blenders, and tool charging are good applications to be handled by Tiny Home off-grid solar power.

Beyond this, electric hair dryers, toaster ovens, microwave ovens, or electric tea kettles are usable for short bursts, but you do not want to leave them on for long, as they can take up to 1000-watts, depleting your battery storage quickly.

Once the types of uses that work well with solar are acknowledged, you can more readily gauge how much power you will need from your solar power system. This would be built around an estimation of your average daily wattage needs and your maximum potential watts pulled from the system.

To do this, brainstorm all of your potential uses and then add up all the wattage draws of those applications. Some appliances may be listed in volts and amps, but there is an easy conversion to watts. Volts multiplied by amps give you watts. Watts are actually calculated in watt-hours, so a 30-watt light bulb, for example, would draw 30-watts per hour.

Average daily watts would be based on the sum of your estimated usage time of each application over a day. For example, using two 20-watt LED bulbs four hours a day, a 60-watt computer two hours a day and a 150-watt computer one hour a day would give you a 430-watt average daily wattage use (2 x 20 x 4 + 60 x 2 + 150 = 430). Your maximum potential watts pulled is then the sum of everything you might use at once. So, in the above example, using all at the same time would pull 250-watts total (40 + 60 + 150 = 250).

When you have an idea of how much power you need for your Tiny Home, you can then start searching for or designing a system to work for you.

Types of Solar Power

There are two main types of Tiny House solar power systems for off-grid locations, a portable solar generator or an installed system. Generally, we recommend portable solar generators for Tiny Homeowners as they can be moved easily with the home, allow for solar tracking (see below) and fit with the efficient and mobile lifestyle of most Tiny Home residents.

TinyHomeSolar How It Works

For 24/7 off-grid power, a hybrid system with your solar generator or fixed solar system combined with a gas generator will best suit the Tiny Home. This combo will allow you to fast charge your batteries via the gas generator when they are low. You can also plug straight into the gas generator for higher energy draws. By utilizing this system, you would significantly reduce your gas generator usage and ensure you have power available in winter, rainy days and at night.


Balanced System Design

Bringing all the key factors for solar generator usability together gives a clear picture of the overall need for balanced system design. Solar generators that really work when needed have quality components that fit well with each other and have ratings that support end-usability.

Furthermore, adding high-quality components and balancing the system design to boost portability will assure that a solar generator can work in a variety of environments, applications, and needs.

Installed Solar Systems

An installed off-grid solar power system works similarly to a solar generator and would include a solar PV panel group attached to the Tiny Home roof or a separate array. This would feed a battery bank that would be located in a shed, water-resistant area or the Tiny Home itself. An inverter and solar controller could also be placed in this area as well.

The real difference here is that the system would be fixed to one location, disallowing solar tracking and making moving your Tiny Home more difficult. Should solar PV panels be attached to the Tiny Home roof, this would add weight to the house itself.


When you are building your Tiny Home or upgrading it to solar, there are some key steps and components you will need to give your Tiny Home solar power, as well as maximum electrical adaptability for any situation you may be in traveling or landing.

Please note that if you plan on having high-energy draw applications it is recommended to separate out to multiple circuits in a sub-panel box, with a much bigger feed, generally 220v at 30 to 50-amps. TinyHouseSolarPower SplitFeedYour solar power system will also need to be sized appropriately to handle this feed.

In terms of internal wiring, the 14-gauge standard Romex wire is a standard choice for a Tiny Home. This wiring is ideally done while framing is open and before any inside walls are completed.

As for distances of extension cord to your solar power system, we recommend no more than 100 feet with a 10-gauge cord or wire, for 15 to 20-amps maximum. Any 30-amp or more service cord will need to go to a heavy 8-gauge wire or bigger for distance to the source, because of the resistance in the line.

"The SolMan unit has been great—no troubles at all and it's still chugging away with the house up in the mountains. It withstood a cold winter without any problems, and we are still so happy with it."

-Merete Mueller, Tiny Homeowner, and Producer of "TINY - The Movie"

Click HERE for more information about SolMan 3000

Upcoming Events

SolSolutions is looking to get involved in events as we open back up from shelter-in-place. If you need on-site solar power or lighting, please contact us today!

COVID-19 Update

SolSolutions is working hard during these trying times to provide customers with the best off-grid solar power, battery backup, and portable LED lighting solutions. Whether it is for purchase or rental, give us a call today to discuss your needs! We love hearing from you and keeping in contact as we all progress towards a better future. We wish everyone health, saftey and happiness!


Need financing for your Off Grid Solar or Lighting projects? Click button below and see how much you qualify for? This is a soft pull only. This will not affect your credit.

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