Although in many ways mobile homes are a cost-saving option, when it comes to saving energy they’re not going to win first prize. Energy costs can climb, especially during winter, due to leaks around pipes and window frames. And many mobile home owners can attest to the fact that the lack of a basement means a lot of energy is escaping out of the bottom of the home. We love mobile homes, but sometimes the cons can be frustrating. How can a homeowner like you save on energy? Are solar panels an option? In fact, can mobile homes have solar panels?
Looking to save energy?
With all this room for improvement, it’s no wonder that so many mobile home owners are looking to save energy. Solar energy is becoming more and more popular, so no doubt you’ve considered the option. But this raises a big question. Can mobile homes have solar panels? Is it even possible?
Can mobile homes have solar panels?
The answer is fairly brief. Installing solar panels on the roof of your mobile home is probably not an option. For a lot of reasons, mobile homes usually cannot support solar panels. Don’t worry, we’ll discuss alternative options in just a minute. But first, let’s look at why mobile homes and rooftop solar panels don’t get along.
Why your roof can’t support solar panels
There are two main reasons why this is the case. First, mobile home roofs do not have particularly strong structures. Did you know that solar panels can add over 400 pounds to your roof? Especially if you live in an area with significant snowfall or strong winds, adding that much weight to your mobile home roof would almost certainly compromise its integrity.
Another thing that stick-built homes have that mobile homes don’t is a permanent foundation. Again, this affects the home’s structural strength. So can mobile homes have solar panels? Our verdict: solar panels are simply too heavy for mobile homes.
In addition, your mobile home park may not even allow rooftop solar panels! And even more importantly, your county may not approve a renovation of this type.
But don’t give up your search for energy-efficient improvement just yet. There are alternatives to rooftop solar panels.
Ground-mounted solar panels
Yes, you can still have your dream of a solar-powered mobile home! There’s hope. It may seem obvious, but have you seriously considered ground-mounted solar panels? Before you decide to go this route, check with your city or county to make sure this alternative is legal.
And again, if you rent a lot in a mobile home park, check with the park owner beforehand. Chances are, your mobile home park will not let you install solar panels on their lot. However, ground-mounted panels are a great option if you own your own lot.
How much do ground-mounted solar panels cost?
Installing ground-mounted solar panels is a more involved process than installing roof-mounted panels. Ground-mounted panels require a cement base and a metal structure to support them. You wouldn’t want them flying off in a high wind.
Although ground-mounted solar panels are just as effective as roof-mounted, they cost more for a lot of reasons. Labor and material costs, plus building permit costs, make ground-mounted solar panels a pricey option. But we all agree that the reward comes later when you save hundreds of dollars in electric bills by using nature’s built-in energy source!
Energy-saving hacks for mobile homes
Looking to save even more energy after you get solar panels installed? Or maybe you’re wondering what you can do to improve energy costs without investing in solar panels. Try these options:
- Invest in energy-efficiant mobile home skirting.
- Add more insulation in your attic or crawl space.
- Upgrade your windows.
- Seal around your windows with caulk.
- For a cost-effective way to keep your rooms more insulated, invest in blackout curtains.
- Have your HVAC system inspected regularly.
- Be sure to have your furnace serviced once a year.
- Replace your standard lightbulbs with energy-efficient lighting.
- Seal around ducts and vents.
Save energy, save money
Can mobile homes have solar panels? Well, not on their roofs, but they can definitely benefit from ground-mounted solar panels!
Solar panels are an big investment initially, but they save you money in the long run. After you install your new solar panels, be sure to apply the energy-saving hacks above to save even more. For more information, check out our tips on how to choose the best insulated skirting for your mobile home.