Getting a photovoltaic panel system for your home is an excellent way to improve your real estate investment, protect you from power outages, and lower your electricity bill. It also helps the environment by reducing the amount of fossil fuels used for energy production. With these and other benefits in mind, many residents in California are installing solar panels for their home or business. There is, however, one form of residence that is very popular, but often overlooked for solar panels — the mobile home!
According to the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD), there are 5,952 mobile home and RV parks in California, with a total of 474,327 lots or spaces. Now, that number might not seem important, considering that the recent census estimate of California housing units just passed 14 million. Still, over four hundred thousand mobile homes is more than the number of housing units in many less populous states (here’s looking at you Wyoming)! Recalling California’s goal to reach 100% electricity retail sales from renewable energy sources by 2045, is there a way to use those mobile home rooftops for solar power?
Structural Challenges for Mobile Home Rooftops
The roofs of most mobile homes, especially double-wide and larger, are large enough to hold a solar panel array. For an experienced company like Solaron, even a small roof can offer room for a significantly helpful solar array. So space on a mobile home is not the issue.
The problem is the structural strength of most mobile homes. Their roofs are not designed to hold a lot of weight. Maxeon 3 solar panels weigh about forty pounds each. Add in the support structure and system components and you increase that weight. Solaron wants to make sure your solar panel system is reliable, safe and secure, and that installing it poses no danger to you or your property. County Building Inspection offices feel the same way. Considerable reinforcement might be necessary to ensure that a mobile home, and even a more sturdy manufactured home, can hold up solar panels.
Another issue is with the concept of “mobility.” True, many mobile homes are put in place and never, ever move again. Nevertheless, most mobile homes rest upon a network of stilts or stands, keeping them above the ground and potentially mobile. When installing a photovoltaic system, building codes usually require the structure be permanently attached to the ground. Manufactured homes might be able to work within this requirement, depending on their type of foundation and how they are attached to said foundation, but the basic nature of mobile homes typically disqualifies them. This restriction is in place with the safety of the residents in mind.
Mobile Homes Can Get Solar Panels
Building codes for cities, counties and states are complicated, and there are often exceptions to a rule that might come into play. Before you write off getting a solar system for your residence, check with the experts at Solaron. We always keep up to date on any changes to construction restrictions or building code limits. Not only that, but your property might have a shed, garage, shade structure, or carport that’s strong enough to support an array of solar panels. Your property might also be perfect for ground mounted solar panels, depending on the available space surrounding the home.
Another thing to remember is the ongoing development of technology in the photovoltaic field. As we covered in recent articles, many technologies show promise for even more flexible, lighter, and efficient ways to harness energy from the sun. For instance, SunPower recently created a separate business called Maxeon, and one of Maxeon’s objectives is to research and develop solutions for these kinds of issues.
Let Solaron Help You Get Solar!
Solaron wants to help you benefit from photovoltaic energy. To find out what might be needed for your home – mobile or not – to benefit from solar power, give us a call or schedule a free solar analysis online.