Last week I spoke about the costs of tiny houses and why I don’t find that figure to be much of a problem. Several individuals mentioned that the $20,000 cost was fine for just the house but what about the cost of adding power systems on top of it. A lot of people believe that solar power needs to be expensive but we have a different experience with this.
The first step is to determine how much power you need if you want to be off the grid. If you’re looking to run a refrigerator, an air conditioner, a washer and dryer, etc.; a small solar power system may not be the best solution for you. We decided to keep our lifestyle as simple as possible to be able to use a scaled down system. We run as much as we can on butane and propane so the only thing that really runs on the solar power are the lights and our computers, including Matt’s massive gaming laptop. And remember, both of us work from the tiny house so we need access to our computers most of the day.
Do you want to see how we did it? Read the rest below:
For our solar power system we worked with an online retailer called the AltE Store. They were delightful and helped us put together a system that worked well for us. We knew what we wanted in general but they asked questions to drill down to the specifics that we really needed.
As you can read on our blog, we have a Kyocera 490 watt system. This includes two 245 watt panels and a 45 amp Tristar MPPT charge controller. The whole system feeds two 110 amp hour AGM batteries. We are also using an 1800 watt inverter. As I mentioned, this system powers everything we need in our home including lights and laptops. We can also charge all of our smaller devices like phones and iPods.
So what did it cost? For the solar panels and all the accessories we were able to complete our power set up for under $2,000.
One additional accessory we have is a Coleman Stirling Engine Cooler. Most of the time we buy fresh foods and eat them quickly so they don’t need refrigeration, but we are also craft beer lovers and there is nothing worse than cold beer. The cooler is extremely efficient and we can hook it up directly to the batteries under the house without draining our power. Unfortunately, Coleman no longer makes this cooler but sometimes you can still find it for sale- deeply discounted- at truck stops.
That makes the total cost of our home around $22,000 for both the construction and the cost of our energy. Now we neither have a mortgage nor utility bills. All of this adds up to an ability to lower our expenses and do the things we love to do rather than work to afford our bills.
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