Tiny House Solar System for High Power Use

Tiny House Solar System for High Power Use

Hey guys, we’re here at the tiny
tack house near Seattle, Washington. I’m here with Chris tack and we have
a full video tour of this tiny house already, so make sure to check that out. But right now we’re going to
talk about the solar system. All right, we figured it would make
sense to start out with our solar panels. So we’ve got four solar panels here. They’re each capable and full sun
of collecting 255 Watts of power. So if we come around the other side here, basically the way that we’re set
up is we’ve got a breaker box. And so the panels all connect into here. We’ve got a grounding rod right
over here. So in case we, uh, have any lightning issues, which
we don’t get too much out here. And then right here is our big beefy
cable that runs up to the front of the house, to the breaker box. All right, so here we have it. You can see right here is the cable
that connects all the way from our solar panels and it runs into here. So
we have a pretty beefy inverter. This is an Outback power and this guy is
capable of collecting up to 3,600 Watts of power. Right now we only have to have
1,020 Watts of collecting ability, but we could add more
panels if we wanted to. So this thing is an all in one system. A lot of companies that do solar
systems, they make just part of it. So they might make the battery controller
or they might make the inverter. Um, but Outback makes all
the different components. So we’ve got our charge
controller, we’ve got our, so this is the charge controller.
This manages the power coming in, it manages the batteries charging, and then our inverter is inside this part
and then all the AC hookups are here. All of our DC hookups are
over on this side. And, um, this has builtin breakers. So again,
we have the breaker box on the panels, but if there were any issues
with lightning, we would, um, this would automatically hopefully get
tripped if the, if there was an issue. And then the AC breakers are up here to
disconnect power going into the house. So up in the top here, you can see we’ve got all the cables that
run over to our standard breaker box. So we have eight different breakers. We decided to break it out probably a
little more than you needed to for a tiny house. But, uh, we just wanted the ability to turn
off different sections of the house. And then, um, this part here actually is a built
in web server and it can be used for programming. So I can actually hop on the internet and
I can see the stats for my inverter to see how much power I’m
currently collecting. I can see what the batteries are at.
Uh, and speaking of the batteries, we’ve got these two cables right over
here that run into our battery box. So we have four pretty massive batteries. They’re 12 volt batteries that are
wired as if they’re one big battery. So it basically makes up a big 48
volt battery and it’s 260 amp hours. These things are sealed lead
acid. They each weigh 172 pounds. So they are quite heavy
and a pain to move. But, um, the thing was sealed lead acid batteries
as you generally don’t want the power to go down below about 50% on a regular
basis because it’ll shorten their life. Um, generally I’ve heard that sealed led
lead acid batteries should last 15 years if you properly maintain
them. Um, in terms of maintain, I just mean not charging them
too low on a regular basis. You can do it once in awhile. But the other nice thing about the
inverter that we have is it automatically takes care of, um, automatically reconnecting to the
grid if we do get too low. So, um, it’s all programmed ahead
of time through this unit here. And basically I have it set up so that
if the voltage of the batteries gets too low, then it’ll just
automatically reconnect. So when I mentioned being
connected to the grid, we have just a standard
extension cord over on the side. And so when the sun isn’t out and
we’re not getting enough power, um, this will automatically reconnect and
it’ll grab power from the grid to either charge the batteries or run into the
house depending on where the need is or both at the same time, we actually
worked with a third party, uh, would be sun and wind to set up
our system and do all the planning. And they had us fill out
a solar calculator that
basically you had to list all the different items we planned on using
how much power they consume and how long each day we planned on using
them. So inside our house we, um, we kept our lighting all pretty much led,
so that doesn’t take barely any power. But, uh, we do have a hot water heater, a four gallon hot water heater that
draws about 1200 Watts of power. So that’s a pretty good amount.
And then we’ve got, uh, an iMac, a wall mounted iMac that draws
around 300 Watts of power. Occasionally we’ll use our blender,
we’ll use, um, Oh, what else? We have the hairdryer. Uh, and then
I have a laptop as well. But really, um, we, yeah, we want it to be fairly
minimal with our power consumption. So the hot water heater
is the biggest one. And we also did wire that into a switch
so that we turn it off when we don’t need it. Yeah. And it only takes about 15 to 20
minutes to heat up if the water’s cold. We do have an electric
refrigerator standard 120, very, very low power consumption cause
it’s just a four cubic foot. So it’s about this tall and this wide.
Does it have a freezer component? It does, yeah. It has a separate freezer
on top. And you use that for heating. Do you use an electric heater? We
do, yeah. We have an oil filled, um, electric space heater that has three
settings, a low, medium or high setting. And I think they, um, I
think it draws 700 Watts, 900 Watts or 1200 Watts depending
on which setting it’s on. But during the winter here in Washington, it’s not sunny enough
for us to get our power. All of our power from solar with
what we have set up right now during the summer months, uh, last year we were off-grid from
about April through November. Is this system something you would suggest
for a tiny house or do you think it’s overkill for most tiny houses
or especially ones that
might have more sunshine than you get here in Seattle?
Sure. Um, I mean the, the inverter is definitely
overkill for most tiny houses. We decided on something this big
because we wanted a lot of room to grow. Um, longer term we’ll probably add
more panels, maybe add more batteries, but right now, um, this is
definitely a way more than we need. And a lot of people that are going
with solar, will get a gas, uh, on demand hot water heater.
They’ll get a maybe a gas fridge. And yeah, there are a lot of different options
for appliances nowadays that’ll help consume power. So you wouldn’t
have to go with a system, this bag, if you were looking at solar for a
tiny house, definitely not. Yeah. And this one, um, this
system was pretty pricey. We ended up spending about $12,000. There were some federal rebates
going on the, um, after researching, we figured out we actually
were eligible for us. So ended up being about
$8,000 after all the rebates. So that was for the consulting
with the sun and wind company. Um, and then all of the components, the
panels, the batteries, the whole thing. Okay. Anything else you’d
like to add? Advice for solar? Is that pretty much wrap it up? Um, yeah, I think really the biggest
thing is just planning ahead. You ha you really have to consider how
much power you’re going to be using to figure out how big of a system you need
for the geographic location that you’re in. Because we’re in the summer. Solar
in Washington is fantastic, but again, during the winter months, the days are fairly short and we
just don’t get a ton of sun. Right. Okay. Well, thanks so
much for taking us through your system.

40 thoughts on “Tiny House Solar System for High Power Use

  1. this is awesome with a tiny house like this and this source of power.. I can have free electricity forever.. awesome!

  2. Good job, keep those batteries protected from the elements as much as the electric values bro.. Moisture, humidity and heat oh my!

  3. Just to remind folks two things. 1) Watch your wire connections, make sure they are elevated off the metal at all points and to use steel/aluminum metals that when combined don't corrode. 2) The grounding rod is there to keep yourself from dying in case the metal is electrified by the solar panels. These panels can create enough voltage and amperage to be fatal in the shadiest of conditions.

  4. Cool system! Something I learnt recently is the cost effective thing to do is not oversize your inverter but in fact undersize it, by about 10-15% (with respect to the array's peak power). The solar market is moving so quickly that the chances and practicalities of being able to upgrade the array economically even in the near future are slim. So, you're better to size the system to match your current needs and expect to pretty much start again if you need something beefier later. Also, unless you really need to be off grid, batteries are currently too expensive to make economic sense and you are better making up any shortfall from the grid. The good news is that electric cars are rapidly driving down the per unit price of batteries, so it won't be too long before this is no longer true. Good luck.

  5. anyone considering getting solar panels i would highly suggest checking out https://www.mindfulenergyproject.com/ that site helped me alot when trying to figure out what kind of panels and stuff to get for my solar system 🙂 cool vid btw

  6. I have used this [link here >>>https://t.co/2gsWzGL1BF ] book since taking the train the trainer course using the same book and feel it does more to explain the things you run into everyday in the field.

  7. Hello, I am currently building an off-grid tiny house, and have been stuck for a while on what fridge to get. I keep going back and fourth between how big of a difference automatic vs. manual defrost really effects the electric consumption, and we cook at home daily and want a decent size fridge and freezer, (not bigger than apartment size though.) We are also on a very strict budget and didn't want to spend more than 500. You said it was a standard 120 fridge with low power consumption, could you provide the brand and model please!? Thank you

  8. I LOVE it! If only I could uproot my family and move from Scotland to this home, I could live out the rest of my years in this beautiful setting ( lovy.biz/gcbj ). Get myself a nice woodturning workshop, and I would be in my own, personal heaven!

  9. No different than installing a full home theatre system…..if you can do that, you can def do this!

  10. Wonder how many years it would take to payout 12k in other heating and energy bills. To me it's not really worth it. Propane is so cheap. You can run a tiny home for 10 bucks a month on it.

  11. That's a lot of weight for each battery, 172 pounds. A Tesla powerwall is 250 pounds for all the batteries and has more capacity than the lead acid. 13,000 kw divided y a 48 volt system to give 270 amp hr. 😬 And it is mountable on the wall.

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