Honestly I’m trying to keep this simple, no really. I could just slap an RV photovoltaic (PV) panel rack on the roof and be done with it but it just seems like that would be harder to live with day-in and day-out. PV panels need to be kept clean and tilted toward the sun to be most efficient. So it seems reasonable that a mobile tiny house should have some kind of flexible mount that is easily accessed, quickly deployed, adjusted, stored for transport, and mounted in a way that makes it hard to steal.
After posting a few other ideas and listening to all the great feedback I think I have stumbled on a really simple solution that meets all the requirements I just mentioned and could be built out of 2x4s, a sheet of plywood, and door hinges. I think these sketches illustrate the simple idea. In fact I think Kieran might have suggested this and I’m just now figuring it out. But thanks to everyone for all the great input. It all added up to this latest design.
Above: The panels mounted to a bi-fold set of 2×4 frames, folded away for transport.
Below: The panels folded out toward the glass-side of the house, assuming that side is facing the sun. The panels themselves would be mounted to a metal rack with hinges at the top so they can pivot up. A piece of wood or metal could be used to hold the panels at the correct angle.
Above: Now the bi-fold mount is opened to face the other direction assuming that the homeowner wants the windowless side of the house to face the sun, like during in the hottest days of summer.
I think this could actually be built easily and inexpensively. It could also be added to virtually any tiny house design. PV panels come in a lot of different sizes so before constructing the frame you’d want to buy your panels and build the frame to fit. If you’re handy with a welder it would actually be better to build this out of metal, but 2x4s with ample cross-bracing would work too, especially it you boxed the 2×4 frame in with exterior grade plywood. The whole thing would be fairly heavy so use heavy duty door hinges. So… did I solve the solar panel mounting issue? Please let me know.
Oh… as far as wind power and this tiny solar house, I think I’m going to have to leave that out because from what I’ve read you really need a tall pole and guide wires for a wind turbine. This would be very difficult to add to a mobile tiny house. I suspect a wind turbine installation is just as permanent as a micro-hydro set-up. Please chime in if you know of a mobile solution.