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Can I Put Solar Panels on a Mobile Home? [All You Need To Know]

Tim Carter
Written by Tim Carter Last Updated: June 12, 2022

Do you want to put solar panels on the roof of your mobile home? Most of the time, solar panels cannot be put on mobile homes because of the way their roofs are built. They are not made to support the weight of a whole solar system.

That does not mean you cannot do it, though. Some people who live in mobile homes can safely install solar systems on their roofs. Another option to think about is solar roofing shingles.

Table of Contents

Can I Put Solar Panels on a Mobile Home?

The problem is with the way most manufactured homes are built, especially the roof and the foundation.

Most of these homes are not made to have solar panels on them.

Also, installing solar panels on a clay tile roof or a metal roof is not equally easy (or hard).

The roof should be sturdy. Solar panels and everything that goes with them is heavy.

Each solar panel weighs about 35 pounds by itself. A solar system with 12 panels would add at least 420 pounds to your roof.

When more parts are added, the load becomes much heavier.

So, if you’re wondering how many solar panels you’d need to power the entire house, you should know that 30 to 35 solar panels are needed for a 1000- or 1500-square-foot house.

Even though the roof on a mobile home is smaller, it’s not the number of solar panels and the roof space that creates the trouble. The weight of the rooftop solar power panels is the problem.

When installing solar panels, you have to set up the brackets, mounts, and rails because solar panels need space.

Two or three people have to go up on the roof to install solar panels. If each of them weighs 160 pounds, that is another 480 pounds. When you add 480 and 600, you get 1080, which is more than a ton.

Even though the installers are on the roof only for a short time, the roof will have to deal with snow and strong winds in the winter. So it is not a good idea unless the roof is very strong.

Solar companies have to follow local building codes, which make sure that a home’s roof joists can hold all the weight.

Most manufactured homes cannot safely hold the weight of the installation, which is a problem.

If your joists are set up correctly, you can install solar panels on your roof, but few mobile homes have the right setup.

Your home must have a permanent base.

Manufactured homes are not always built into the ground, but are often on top of the ground.

The structure that holds the solar panels needs to be fixed to the ground.

Where Can I Put Solar Panels?

Can solar panels be put up on any other kinds of buildings? If you want to put solar panels on an enclosed patio, garage, or other building, you have to meet the same rules as for a home. They have to have a permit, be built well, and be big enough to hold solar panels.

You could also install solar panels on the ground if you have the room and your city or county lets you.

Solar panels on the ground cost more than solar panels on a roof. Because they are farther from the sun, they also produce less.

What Are the Alternatives to Solar Panels?

The answer to the question of whether there’s a good alternative to a solar panel system is easy. Now we have roofing shingles with solar cells that work just like any other solar panel.

Tesla solar roof tiles come with many benefits, but this solar system is costly compared to regular solar panels.

What Is the Difference Between Roofing Shingles vs. Solar Roof Panels?

Solar shingles and solar panels both work by absorbing the sun’s rays and turning them into either heat or electricity.

But there are some important differences you should know when figuring out how much solar energy your home needs.

What is the Difference Between Solar Roofing Shingles and Regular Roofing Shingles?

Solar shingles are about the same size as regular roofing shingles.

The thin tiles have a thickness of less than an inch. A typical solar roof installation takes about 350 tiles. So, if installing solar panels is not an option, install solar shingles.

What Materials Are Used in Solar Roofing Shingles?

There are two types of materials commonly used in the production of solar roofing shingles.

Copper indium gallium selenide makes them flexible and thin and has a high rate of conversion efficiency. However, some shingles are made of monocrystalline silicon, and these are more expensive.

Yet, they are worth the extra money because they are about 15% to 20% more effective.

Solar shingles blend right in with concrete or asphalt roofs, so many people like them better than big black panels that are attached to the roof.

In general, solar shingles look better than bulky solar panels because they only need to be placed on certain parts of the roof, like the edges, to be effective. Both solar panels and shingles are made to last a long time, for over 20 years.

Based on how they are made, solar shingle warranties can last for a couple of decades, while shingle durability warranties can last for the life of the house.

Which is More Efficient, Solar Shingles or Solar Panels?

Solar panels are more efficient than solar shingles for several reasons.

You can move solar panels to get the best angle to catch the sun’s rays, but shingles stay in the same place where they were put when they were first put on.

You can always add more shingles to the roof to get more energy, but as with all home improvement projects, more materials cost more money.

Do Solar Panels Reduce Electricity Bills?

In many states, it costs less to buy and install solar panels and put them on the roof than to buy electricity.

Solar panels on mobile homes cost the same as solar panels on any other roof.

Let us look at a quick example to see how costs and savings usually work:

Say you use about 913 kWh of electricity each month and pay $0.13 per kWh.

You would need a 6.5kW installation to cover all of your annual energy needs (equal to about 25 solar panels).

But what if your roof only has room for 12 solar panels? Does it make sense to put up solar panels to cover 50% of your energy needs? Yes, because you can still save a lot of money by doing that.

Final Thoughts

Few mobile homes can fulfill all the criteria to install solar panels on their roof.

However, the situation has dramatically changed with solar roof shingles.

The best part is that their installation doesn’t cost more compared to regular shingles, and they give you the possibility to dramatically reduce your electricity bills.

The best advice we can give you is to consult professional installers who can help you with the calculation and advice.


Tim Carter
Tim Carter

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