I just finished making some refinements to the Tiny Solar House plans based on the suggestions I got from my last post. I’ve added a little more bracing in the walls, an alternate floor plan, a materials list (with cost estimate), and a sketch of how the photovoltaic (PV) panel array might work. Actually I’d like really like to hear what you think about this idea for mounting the PV panels, but all feedback is welcome as always.
I’m imagining a horizontal pipe attached to the back of the house that extends about five feet out from the front wall. On this pipe a metal rack designed to hold PV panels could be attached. The panels would then be tilted toward the sun and locked into place at the most optimal angle for the time of year and latitude. This would maximize the efficiency of the array. If the home-owner wanted to turn the house away from the sun, like during the hot days of summer, the PV panels could simply be flipped over.
The only tricky part that I can think of would be securing the long pipe against the house and keeping the PV array sturdy in strong winds. The panels would also need to be removed for transport. This is not ideal however I suspect the added system efficiency would out-weight the inconvenience of removing them. But if you have a better idea I’d love to hear it.
I’m also looking into other ways of generating electricity for this tiny solar house. One of the suggestions I received was to add a wind turbine. Grant suggested the Chispito Wind Generator, which is a small low-cost wind turbine kit that can product 100 watts in 30 mph winds. It seems like a good idea to have a diverse off-the-grid system utilizing wind and photovoltaic panels.