As many of you know, the ‘Silver Bullet Challenge’ I set out to achieve back in 2012 took me a few years to attain. Building a good quality air ‘breathing’ building envelope, zero-waste, safe, sturdy, road-worthy, off-grid tiny house on wheels for less than $20,000 has been my pleasure to achieve.
As a reclamation artist and sustainability lifestyle educator I travel cross-country to give sustainable lifestyle workshops, presentations, find artistic inspiration and speak about the tiny house movement.
I and my Silver Bullet Tiny House will be at the Florida Tiny House Festival this week, November 18-20th at the Florida St. Augustine Fairgrounds. Come and see it!
Touring often takes me to urban or rural environments in freezing or warm weather so I built 4 portable solar panel holders for my Renogy 2000 Watt Solar System. I can set an array up quickly, keep them clean and maintain them easily. These robust panels have survived 9,000 miles of touring and provide me all the energy I need!
How to go solar can be challenging, but surmountable for a tiny house. My requirements were as follows:
- Good quality solar panels with a long life, durable, sturdy connectors, cords and brackets for my customized portable use.
- System expandability options, quality manufacturing, safe for tiny houses.
- Reasonably priced, easy to install and configure, mounting options for later permanent array completion.
Early this year I purchased a Renogy solar package as my 2nd generation solar solution for the reasons I listed above.*
First, I reduced my energy usage by solarizing everything I could and purchasing products that convert energy you use to cook into energy you need to charge. For most of the year, I cook on a Biolite grill/stove, which powers my tech toys while cooking. I also use both interior and exterior solar lights, 12 volt light fixtures, vacuum and heating, so I can easily function in any off-grid situation.
Secondly, I assessed my wattage usage. That calculation can be made with several online wattage calculators, based on your daily usage and wattage draw from your appliances.
In my case, as a single person at this point in my life, my appliances are minimal. When I called Renogy, they were very informative and tolerant of all my questions and came up with a customized kit based on my wattage calculation, my specific tiny house build and installation requirements.
This is my system:
Renogy 2000 Watt Solar System is installed inside my insulated and vented storage cabinet that sits over my extended trailer yoke. (4-250W solar panels, Midnite Classic 200 Charge Controller, Midnite Combiner Box, Midnite Circuit Breaker, 2000W Inverter, and assorted cables, quad enclosure, etc.)
I love my clean renewable energy Renogy solution! It works for me.
* My first generation solar solution was a Yeti 1250 Kit from Goal Zero. That clean energy solution worked well for pre-living wattage needs and some small building tools; however, their product, by their own admission, last only “hundreds of cycles”. Thus, I was looking for a more permanent long-life solution.