How Many Solar Panels Would It Take To Run A Mobile Home?

How many solar panels would it take to run a mobile home?

With energy costs continuing to rise and power grid reliability decreasing in many areas, more and more mobile home owners are looking to solar panels as an alternative energy source. Knowing how many solar panels are needed to run a mobile home is useful information for several reasons:

It helps mobile home owners determine if solar power is a viable option for them based on the number of panels needed and associated costs. Understanding solar power requirements also makes it easier to properly size a solar array and select the right components like inverters and batteries. Additionally, having a sense of the number of panels needed allows for better planning of the installation location and layout. With this key information, mobile home owners can evaluate if solar power can reduce or eliminate their reliance on the grid, lower energy bills, and provide reliable electricity for their needs.

Typical electricity usage in a mobile home

The average electricity usage for a mobile home is around 950 kWh per month. This can equate to monthly electricity bills between $100-150 for a typical 2-3 bedroom mobile home (Average Electric Bill For A 2 Bedroom Mobile Home – Homoq). The size of the mobile home, number of occupants, appliances, HVAC system, and climate will impact the actual electricity usage and bills.

Electricity costs for heating and cooling often make up around 50% of a mobile home’s energy bills. Older or poorly insulated models can be prone to drafts and heat loss which increases electricity usage. Replacing older windows, adding insulation, and upgrading to more efficient HVAC systems can help reduce costs (How To Lower the Electric Bill in a Mobile Home – The Dollar Stretcher).

Overall, mobile homes tend to use more electricity per square foot than conventional homes. The compact footprint and lack of insulation results in greater heating and cooling needs. However, there are ways to improve efficiency and reduce energy costs for mobile home living.

Factors that affect solar panel needs

The number of solar panels required to power a mobile home depends on several key factors including:

  • Size of the mobile home – Larger homes require more electricity to power lights, appliances, and electronics so will need more solar panels. The average mobile home is around 1,000 square feet.
  • Number of occupants – More people living in the home means more electricity usage. The average number of occupants in a mobile home is 2-3 people.
  • Appliances and electronics used – Homes with more appliances like refrigerators, washing machines, and entertainment systems require more electricity and solar panels.
  • Climate and location – The amount of daily sunlight impacts how much electricity solar panels can generate. Sunnier climates allow solar panels to produce more energy than cloudier regions.

Taking into account these variables for a specific mobile home allows for an accurate calculation of solar panel needs.

Calculate power usage

Estimating the total power consumption for a typical mobile home is an important first step in determining the number of solar panels needed. The average mobile home uses between 10,000-12,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) per year, though this can vary based on the size of the home, number of occupants, climate, and appliance usage. Typical appliances like refrigerators, ovens, TVs, and lighting can consume anywhere from a few hundred to over 1,000 kWh per year.

To get a reasonable estimate, you can add up the average power usage (in kWh/year) for common mobile home appliances and devices. For example: refrigerator (500 kWh), freezer (365 kWh), microwave (73 kWh), electric oven (365 kWh), clothes washer (73 kWh), TV (180 kWh), and lighting (730 kWh). This would give an estimated total of around 2,300 kWh per year just for these appliances. Doing a detailed inventory and calculation for all electric devices can give a good baseline power consumption needs for the home.

How much power solar panels produce

Output of a typical residential solar panel ranges from 250-400 watts (W) depending on the size and efficiency. Most standard panels are around 265W to 320W. The actual output will vary based on factors like the time of day, weather, direction the panels face, and panel tilt. On average, a typical 265W panel in full direct sunlight produces around 1.3-1.5 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity per day. The output will be lower on cloudy days or when panels aren’t pointed directly toward the sun.

According to this source, a 285W panel can produce about 4 kWh per day in optimal conditions, or around 1,460 kWh annually. Actual production depends on local conditions. In general, solar panels only reach full rated production when perfectly perpendicular to direct sunlight for a sustained period.

Number of solar panels needed

To calculate the number of solar panels needed for a mobile home, you first need to determine the average power consumption. A typical mobile home uses around 30 kWh per day, though energy efficiency measures can reduce this. Next, check the solar panel wattage. Standard residential panels are around 300 watts, but high efficiency panels can reach 400 watts or more.

To find the number of 300 watt solar panels needed, divide the average daily usage in kWh by the panel output in kWh. A 300 watt panel produces around 1.5 kWh per day. For a 30 kWh per day mobile home, 30 / 1.5 = 20 panels. So a typical mobile home would need around 20 standard 300 watt solar panels. Higher efficiency 400 watt panels would reduce the number to around 15.

The specific number can vary based on your mobile home’s energy use, climate, and orientation. Use an online solar calculator for a more customized estimate. But in general, plan for 15-25 panels to offset a mobile home’s electricity usage.

Solar Panel Setup

When setting up solar panels on a mobile home, the wiring configuration is important to maximize efficiency. The solar panels need to be wired in series to boost the voltage to proper levels for charging batteries and powering appliances (1). This involves connecting the positive terminal of one panel to the negative terminal of the next panel. A charge controller is also required to regulate the voltage and prevent overcharging the batteries.

For mounting, mobile homes often cannot handle rooftop installations due to weight limits. Ground mounting is the preferred method, using a pole mount or racking system designed for solar panels. The panels should face true south if possible, angled depending on latitude – for example, in Florida the optimal angle is around 25 degrees (2). The angle can be adjusted seasonally to capture more sunlight in winter months. Allowing space between rows helps prevent shading.

Proper solar panel setup for a mobile home takes some planning but can provide a reliable source of off-grid power. Consulting with an experienced solar installer is recommended.




To store excess solar energy produced during the day, most mobile home solar panel systems use batteries. Lead-acid batteries are commonly used because they’re inexpensive, but lithium-ion batteries are gaining popularity for their longer lifespan, faster charging, and lower maintenance needs. Batteries allow you to store electricity for use when the sun isn’t shining, such as at night or on cloudy days. This gives you consistent access to solar power even when your panels aren’t actively producing energy.

The number and size of batteries needed depends on your energy usage and desired backup capacity. With average electricity needs, you may need 2-4 batteries with 200-300 amp-hour capacity. Properly sized batteries can provide 1-3 days of power storage. Batteries should be housed in secure, climate-controlled enclosures outside the mobile home to prevent hazards. Ventilation, surge protection, and cooling fans may be necessary. Regular maintenance extends battery life.


Proper maintenance is crucial to maximize the performance and lifespan of solar panels. The main aspects of solar panel maintenance involve cleaning the panels, inspecting electrical connections, and servicing the inverter.

Solar panels should be cleaned at least twice a year, more frequently if there is significant dirt and dust buildup. Cleaning removes debris that can shade the panels and reduce power production. Panels are typically cleaned by spraying with water and using soft brushes or microfiber cloths to scrub away stubborn dirt. Chemical cleaners should be avoided as they can damage the panels over time.

Electrical connections should be inspected annually to check for loose wiring or corroded contacts. Tight connections are essential for proper energy transfer. Technicians will tighten any loose connections and replace any damaged wires or connectors.

The inverter converts the DC electricity from the solar panels into usable AC power. Inverters contain fans and capacitors that can wear out over time. Most solar installers recommend having a professional technician service the inverter every 2-3 years to maximize its lifespan. This involves testing components and replacing any worn parts.

Regular solar panel maintenance ensures your system keeps performing optimally for decades. Homeowners may choose to have professional technicians conduct maintenance, or can learn to do basic upkeep themselves. Proper care maximizes solar power production and return on investment.

Cost Savings

Installing solar panels on a mobile home can provide significant long-term cost savings through reduced or even eliminated electric bills. According to Ecoflow, the return on investment for a solar panel system on a mobile home is usually between 5-7 years. After this period, the solar panel system will have paid for itself and continue generating virtually free electricity.

The amount of savings depends on factors like your location, energy usage, and the specifics of your solar panel system. But most mobile homeowners see their monthly electric bills reduced by 50-100%. In sunny states like California and Texas, it’s possible to zero out electric bills with enough solar panels (Qorax Energy).

Going solar means you’ll be immune to utility rate hikes over the decades-long lifespan of your solar panels. And once the system is paid off, you’ll enjoy free solar power and huge savings on electricity costs for years to come.

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