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Installing Solar Panels, Save Money and Help the Environment

Updated on August 27, 2014

Have you seemed those tiny homes on the television? They usually run 88 feet wide and are 12 feet high. They can fit in the size of a parking space in order for the builder does not have to follow building codes and builds a house on a tractor trailer. I helped build one last year and had a great time doing it.

The bathroom in a tiny home is like the ones on trains or boats, shower head over the toilet. In mine, I made it a completely different room. For cooking and heating, I use a propane heater. It costs me about $10 a month, and it is my only monthly expense.

I use rainwater for cooking and bathing. I have a very hygienic system to make sure the water is potable, even my shower water. I boil it, and then filter it three times. My water might even be cleaner than the public's tap water. Plus, I have a Brita filter when I feel lazy.

As for the solar panels, I needed help with them since I am not an electrician by any means. I had a friend help me, but I was very actively engaged in the work as well. Theses are some of the things that happened when installing the solar panels, as well as some simple tips.

1. We bought a solar power generator. I was thinking about buying use, but with this stuff, newer is better.

2. When it came to the actual design and the actual instillation. No one listened to me. We had three guys, and each one had their opinion. I did talk everyone in installing in the East side of the house since that is when I would need more of the electricity. So they did. Ya!

3. They hauled that heavy sucker on the top of my mini vacation house.

4. My house is capable of generating enough electricity to power my AC if I choose. Also, I have been thinking about moving to Denver soon, and the way the solar panels were designed and installed, I have the option to be powered into the city's grid. Oh, to be Amish or not to be Amish.

It is fun living off the grid. This is not going to be my personal lifestyle; it was just something I always wanted to do, and did it for under $10,000.

My biggest tips are:

1. Do all your research on solar panels and how to instal them.

2. When in doubt, hire a professional.

3. Save the receipts, because it can be a tax write off.

4. Check out you local laws concerning solar panels and mini homes.

5. Always have smart friends who are willing to help.

7. Have fun!


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    • Alli Rose profile image

      Alli Rose Smith 3 years ago from Washington, DC

      Thank you Designery, I agree, as electric gets more expensive, this is the way to go. Thanks for checking out my hub!

    • profile image

      JennAshton 3 years ago

      We've been thinking about solar panels - sounds like it may work for us! Thanks for this hub!

    • connieow profile image

      Connie S Owens 3 years ago from El Cajon, CA

      I want to do this for my RV, making it fully self-sustainable. Thank you.

    • Judy Filarecki profile image

      Judy Filarecki 3 years ago from SW Arizona and Northern New York

      When I moved to southern Arizona in 1994 I couldn't figure out why they weren't using solar power. It made complete sense to me since we have sun 360 days a year. Now in 2014, they are finally realizing the benefits they have and you are actually seeing new homes being built with solar included and parking lots at schools and Walmart being covered with panels. It is great for the schools because the companies install everything without charge and the school gets a share of the electricity cutting their cost significantly.

    • LL Fugate profile image

      LL Fugate 3 years ago from Central Virginia

      A coworker just mentioned these tiny houses to me the other day. If that is a picture of yours, congrats! It's so cute I can't stand it. And solar powered. Yes, I'm very interested in solar power. (And totally horrified if somethgblue's comment is correct!) Anyway, nice hub. It was a fun read.

    • DrBill-WmL-Smith profile image

      William Leverne Smith 3 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Good for you! Thanks for sharing! ;-)

    • somethgblue profile image

      somethgblue 3 years ago from Shelbyville, Tennessee

      Did you know that it is actually against the Law for any solar panel made in the USA to be more than 30% efficient. Meaning you cannot file a patent with the United States Patent Office that shows that your solar panel device is more than 30% efficient that is for resale to the public.

      I will try to find the link that backs up this incredible claim but I learned this when I researched and wrote an article about inventions that had been censored and suppressed.

      Good article, thanks for alerting me to your presence, Hub forth!

    • Alli Rose profile image

      Alli Rose Smith 3 years ago from Washington, DC


    • Pamela Bush profile image

      howtopam 3 years ago from Alberta, Canada

      Hi Alli Rose;

      Thanks for the information. I am about to explore solar panel power; it is my next endeavor. The tiny house is similar to my 28 foot RV.

    • Elsie Hagley profile image

      Elsie Hagley 3 years ago from New Zealand

      Nice hub. Solar panels would save money by not having a big power bill. I'm quite interested in them, but I wonder about Mid winter in New Zealand, when it rains for days and the sun never shines, living in a valley, we only see the sun for about 5 hours a day. Still thinking about this. We use solar power for the electric fences, controlling break feeding of cows, that works good. Thanks you have given me food for thought.