It’s possible to install solar panels on manufactured homes—with a few guidelines. The home must have a structurally sound roof capable of supporting a solar panel system, and it must be located in an area where local building codes allow for structures with impermanent foundations to have solar energy systems. However, if your manufactured home isn’t built to hold up solar panels, you aren’t out of luck. There are still other cost effective options for passive solar power and for improved energy efficiency in general.
Usage of Solar Panels On Manufactured Homes
Solar panels are a great way to save on home energy, but due to insufficient structural support and lack of permanent foundations, many manufactured home owners can’t safely install a whole rooftop solar panel system. There are, however, alternative options for energy efficient manufactured homes, and depending on local building codes, your home may be able to support a solar panel system.
Some Manufactured Homes Can’t Go Fully Solar
The truth is that some mobile homes simply can’t go solar. This is due to insufficient structural support to hold up all the solar panels. Each one weighs an average of 40 pounds—not including several hundred additional pounds of solar installation hardware. Factoring in wind gusts or snow pileup, a solar panel system adds an enormous amount of weight to the roof. For further safety, building codes dictate that the installation of solar panels must be on a property with a permanent foundation. It is, however, worthwhile to speak to your local department to get detailed information on the building regulations in your area.
How Solar Panel Energy Can Still Be Used
Solar power isn’t out of the question for all manufactured housing—some homes are indeed able to sustain a solar panel system with the right structural support, lighter solar panels, or the alternative option to install a small system. Even if your home lacks the right structure to support a full solar panel system, you may consider a ground-mounted system of solar panels or solar collectors, portable solar panels, or installing panels on another structure like a garage or enclosed patio—provided they are in compliance with building codes and are structurally sound.
If ground-mounted systems, portable systems, or usage of another structure for installation aren’t good options for your home, there are still a variety of alternative ways to make your manufactured home energy efficient.
Alternative Energy Efficiency Options
Even if solar panels aren’t a feasible option for your home, you aren’t out of luck. Subscribing to a local community solar system is a great way to contribute to energy conservation, and there are a variety of options to optimize the energy efficiency of your manufactured home as well, including installing energy efficient windows and doors, replacing old light bulbs, using a smart thermostat, sealing any air leaks, and adding additional insulation in walls, attic space, and the underside of the home. In fact, these modifications are greatly worthwhile even if you’re able to install a solar panel system on your manufactured home. For more ideas, check out Improvement Projects that Increase Manufactured Home Value.
Many manufactured homes are not structurally built to safely sustain a full roof-mounted solar panel system, but there are still excellent renewable energy options for saving money and optimizing energy efficiency in your home, including ground-mounted or portable solar panels, the installation of energy efficient windows, doors, and lightbulbs, using a smart thermostat, sealing air leaks, and adding insulation throughout. With just a few modifications, you can stay comfortable and maximize your energy efficiency even in the hottest and coldest months.
Check out our blog. In addition to a monthly newsletter, we talk about everything from the process of buying a manufactured home to how they stack up against other types of housing, like apartments. And to learn more about the regulations on manufactured homes, check out How Do Site-Built, Modular, and Manufactured Homes Compare?