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Solar Tiny House Doubles as Tri-toon Houseboat

This tiny house design by Claude von Roesgen not only has a roof made out of solar panels..

But it also doubles as a pontoon (actually tri-toon) houseboat.

The home has two configurations: (1) to be attached onto a utility trailer or (2) a pontoon boat which I’ll show you below.

So can we legitimately call this an amphibious tiny house?

Another interesting feature is the home’s built-in solar roof.

Tiny House with Solar Roof Panels

Photo Credit CB99Videos/YouTube

Tiny House with a Solar Roof

They actually used the solar panels as roofing for the house. This is the first time I’ve seen it done this way and I really like it. See what I mean in the photos below:

Tiny House with Solar Roof Panels

Photo Credit CB99Videos/YouTube

Below is look from the interior:

Solar Panels on Roof inside Tiny House Ceiling

Photo Credit CB99Videos/YouTube

I always wondered if you can use solar panels for roofing. And I guess you can! Apparently it’s water tight too.

On the inside of the house Claude used knotty pine to cover the walls.

I’m sure it’s alright to insulate and cover the panels with more tongue and groove knotty pine or whatever you might like for the ceiling.

Helicopter Tiny House?!

Then somewhere in the video someone playfully mentions, “well, what about if we installed helicopter blades on it?”

The house weighs approximately 5800 lbs including the trailer. The house alone weighs about 3800 lbs.

Bamboo flooring inside.


Photo Credit CB99Videos/YouTube

With knotty pine interior walls.

Lots of windows for plenty of light.

Can Tiny Houses Be Unattached from the Trailer?

Tiny House on a Trailer or on a Pontoon

Photo Credit CB99Videos/YouTube

Can you make it where you can attach and then later detach a tiny house from a trailer?

Great question because this is a perfect example of a house that does.

And yes- you can do this with just about any tiny house project using bolts.

This tiny house is made so you can unbolt it from the utility trailer and secure it onto the pontoon so it can become a tiny houseboat.

If you’re curious the tri-toon he bought can hold up to 10,000 lbs of weight.

Watch The Tiny House: A Documentary

I hope Claude will continue to share his amazing tiny house project with us.

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Alex is the founding editor of TinyHouseTalk.com and the always free Tiny House Newsletter. He has a passion for exploring and sharing tiny homes (from yurts and RVs to cabins and cottages) and inspiring simple living stories. Send in your story and tiny home photos so we can share and inspire others towards simplicity too. Thank you!

{ 12 comments… add one }

  • Diane February 17, 2013, 12:28 pm

    It’s like a tiny house designed by Q from the 007 movies.

  • TomLeeM February 18, 2013, 7:52 pm

    I think it is neat that it can go from tiny house to tiny house boat.

    It is green not only because it is small but because of the solar panels. I think it is neat that the solar panels could be the roof of the house instead of being on the roof of the house.

  • katie February 21, 2013, 7:46 pm

    The solar panel roof is by far the best roofing I’ve seen in all my tiny house research! I’d love to learn more about it!

  • LaMar Alexander LaMar February 23, 2013, 2:50 pm

    The drawback to using solar panels as roofing is if you need to remove one to repair or replace it is you have a big hole in your roof and there will be more tendency to leak around the edges of the panels.

    Yo could easily put on a roof of 1/2 inch plywood under the panels without adding much weight.

    I am not sure about the pontoon boat idea and will reserve judgement. Most pontoon boats are wide and shorter to disperse the weight evenly. This looks top heavy on a narrow base which sounds like an accident waiting to happen.

  • Margo February 23, 2013, 3:27 pm

    I have long been wondering about having a dual purpose land/water tiny house and am delighted to see this. I am wondering if anyone else has experience? And also if there isn’t a less expensive alternative to hiring a crane to shift the house from one platform to another? (Some way to slide the house on rails? Or….)

  • jerryd February 23, 2013, 8:31 pm

    Trailer to boat is something I’ve been advocating for a while and greatly increases the places you can legally live free.

    A couple details though. The PV is terrible as it’ll never be fully used because of the 2 angles you’ll be lucky to get even one side doing good. For this kind of vehicle you need a far flatter roof.

    Next the panels must in many places have airflow below them to get rid of the 1kwhr/sqyd of heat hitting it at noon. So do a ventilated space under the panels and above the insulation.

    And as Lamar says rather top heavy for the hulls, total boat width he chose.

    Something on round pontoons is if overloaded like this likely will be, quickly lose stability after the water gets half way up the reserve floatation drops fast as the top get narrow. So on pontoons get ones that are wide all the way to the top unless very lightly loaded and you just can’t call a stick built TH a light load. Even a good side gust of 50-75mph could cause such a high, heavy craft to roll over. You should be at least as wide as high.

  • Solar Burrito February 23, 2013, 11:23 pm

    He could add stability to the boat by adding a keel. Basically a weight that hangs down about 4 feet in the water to prevent it from rolling over.

  • frankie February 24, 2013, 10:54 am

    I hadn’t thought about evening out the weight on either side of the house. I guess it would be more important for a boat but it seems it would also be a factor just for driving down the highway so that your tiny house doesn’t list to one side.

  • Comet October 6, 2014, 1:33 pm

    Spent a lot of my life on boats and this will be immensly top heavy and tend to either wallow–not good–or flip completely. Maybe if ONLY used as a house boat and moored on a lake or some CALM piece of water. Cabled FIRMLY to a dock. And even there–you STILL will have to pay slip rental! If you OWN the land–you WILL have to pay taxes on it!

    I “get” that people want to live “free” or for as little as possible but–unless some one ELSE owns the land and THEY pay the taxes or you manage to persuade your Town that you qualify for “Tax Free Religious Status”–someone is paying those taxes! Do I LIKE paying my taxes? Nope. Do I think I pay too MUCH? I live in NY–you do that math! Do I think I get my “fair share” BACK from those taxes? NOPE! Am I planning on MOVING to get away for these insane taxes? Well yes–yes I am. For a host of reasons but this is a big one. But–I am sure I will end up paying SOMETHING somewhere.

    Can’t say that using it on a trailer is much better but you wouldn’t drown either.

    I recenly saw something called a SOLAR SHED–comes pre-covered and wired with solar panels and can be positioned in your yard to get the MOST soalr gain–unlike your house which might be hard to move! With the lower cost solar panels even an older shed could be fitted with panels if it had the right exposure. No reason you could not run elec wires into the house for certain things to run on this solar power. This could help take soalr power option solely OUT of the hands of those who could well AFFORD to pay a “regular” power bill and help US afford to actually HAVE electricity. Which is becoming a “Luxury Item”.

    Why IS it that only the wealthy can AFFORD to SAVE money on power or fuel in cars etc????

  • Marsha Cowan October 6, 2014, 10:20 pm

    I have seen pictures of this house on its pontoons before. They are pretty wide spread so that the weight looks pretty balanced to me. Otherwise, it is a really nice looking tiny house, and floating down a lazy river with it sounds great to me! If you kept a replacement solar panel to “plug in” whenever one needs repairing, you shouldn’t have a problem, but solar panels don’t “break” ( quit working), so you must be thinking about damage to the glass. It is tougher than you think, and most is designed to withstand high gales and flying debris, so it is probably not going to be as much of a problem as one might think.

  • ben October 9, 2014, 10:37 am

    Going to have to agree with Lamar on this one. Solar panels as the roof panels just doesnt make sense for upkeep purposes. And as far as placing it on a pontoon i would be extremely cautious. To get that house to float right the calculations on weight and size would have to be extremely precise. Maybe a larger barge would work. Just buy a boat.

  • Joe November 1, 2014, 1:42 am

    I need to know more about that roof. It’s the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen. I suspect you can generate something like 2-3.5kW of power using that kindof set up, the cost being around $3500 nowadays. And you don’t need a roof! This might be enough power to climate control the inside.

    How about making the entire exterior out of solar panels? They aren’t that expensive anymore..

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