Container House Solar Panel Roofs

Solar Panel Roof Container House

Benefits of Container House Solar Panel Roofs

Container homes are becoming increasingly popular as people seek affordable and eco-friendly housing options. One way to make these homes even more sustainable is by installing solar panels on the roof. In this article, we will discuss the benefits of solar panels on container home roofs.

Cost Savings

The most significant benefit of installing solar panels on a container home roof is the cost savings on electricity bills. Once installed, solar panels can produce electricity for up to 25 years, and they require very little maintenance. The initial investment can be high, but the long-term benefits outweigh the upfront costs.

Eco-Friendly

Solar panels are a sustainable and eco-friendly source of energy. By using solar energy, container homes reduce their carbon footprint, and this is an excellent way to promote a greener lifestyle. By installing solar panels, you can significantly reduce your dependence on non-renewable energy sources such as coal or natural gas.

Improved Resilience

Container homes are already known for their durability, but solar panels can make them even more resilient. They are designed to withstand harsh weather conditions, including high winds, heavy rains, and snowstorms. Additionally, solar panels provide a reliable source of energy during power outages, which is particularly useful in remote areas or during natural disasters.

Increased Property Value

Installing solar panels on your container home can increase its value. Solar panels are an attractive feature to potential buyers who are interested in sustainable and eco-friendly homes. A home with solar panels is more likely to sell faster than one without, and you can recoup a significant portion of the initial investment when you sell.

Versatile Installation

Solar panels can be installed on any type of roof, including container home roofs. This makes them a versatile option for homeowners who want to reduce their electricity bills and promote sustainability. The installation process is simple, and solar panels can be mounted on the roof or on the ground, depending on the space available.

Roofs represent the perfect location for solar panels. Being out of reach, they are naturally protected from accidental damage and the “curiosity” of (wild) animals. The roof is also a premium location when it comes to exposure to the sun, and anyhow, usually, it is a wasted space.

Ground-deployed Solar Panels

Frankly, there are not many arguments for ground-deployed solar panels. The strongest one is the anti-theft protection. Portable, ground-level solar panels can be easily removed and stored in the house when you leave it for longer (for example – vacation or weekend houses). Another argument can be the higher conversion efficiency of solar panels, provided you are willing to make daily adjustments (angle and orientation towards the sun). However, this approach may make sense only when you are frequently running out of energy and so every harvested Watt makes a difference.

Note also, that portable solar panels usually serve only as a support for RVs or a sort of “weekend camping expedition” (in other words for a “mobile” lifestyle). For practical reasons (size and amount of work) they cannot meet energy requirements at permanent off-grid locations.

Fixed ground-level solar panels

Fixed, ground-level solar panels may offer an answer. In fact, the installation process is much easier, however, the concept creates its own set of problems. Usually, the Solar Farm will be located at some distance from the house, because most of us would like to keep an open area around. Another important argument is that solar panels must be permanently out of the shade (trees next to the house are part of the overall eco-design strategy). As a result, you will need a long cable carrying low-voltage energy to a bank of batteries, a controller, and an inverter (most likely located in a protected area of the house). The combined effect of long cable and low voltage means high current, high “transport losses” and so lower efficiency of the electrical system. That’s why the container’s roof (in fact any place close to where the energy is consumed) is a preferred location for solar panels.

Standalone solar panels

While ground-level installation may be initially less challenging, it creates its own set of problems. Source: Solar Containers (ERM Energies, France)

The installation of solar panels on the container’s roof requires a custom rack system (supporting frame). While the dimensions of cargo shipping containers are tightly standardized, their geographical locations are random. Automatic sun-tracking systems are too expensive, so in the overwhelming majority of cases solar panels must be installed at fixed angles and directions optimal for a given location. The optimum angle depends on the local latitude and the direction (North or South) of the hemisphere. In practice, the angle of tilt should be approximately equal to the latitude of the location (the further north or south from the equator, the larger the angle).

Important notes for container house solar panel roofs:

Unlike traditional houses with gable-type roofs (2 sloping sides) defining the orientation and angle towards the sun, containers with their original flat roofs leave these two crucial parameters to the designer of the rack. In other words – while the orientation of the container house may help with the final solution, it is not an important factor. If for example the orientation of the house is determined by the local landscape, building codes, or scenic views, you can still get the maximum possible from the roof-installed solar farm by designing a suitable rack system.

The rack must be firmly attached to the roof to prevent it from flying out with the wind. Welding is probably the most common solution given the fact that drilling holes in a container’s structure (especially on the roof) is a sort of strongly discouraging last-resort solution. Handy guys can find a way to attach the supporting frame by using existing holes in the container’s corner posts.

Solar Panel Roof
Dedicated “shed-type” roof designed for installation of solar panels (note that optimal orientation of the container and the slope of its roof is critical in this case). Source: Living Big in a Tiny House

Solar Panel Roof
In the “less-favorable” container’s orientation, the supporting frame is more complex. Source: Homecrux (India) – Architecture Outdoor, by M. Thakur, Nov 10, 2016.

Bottom Line

Solar panels are a sustainable and eco-friendly way to power your container home. They offer numerous benefits, including cost savings, improved resilience, increased property value, and versatile installation. Installing solar panels on your container home roof is a long-term investment that will pay off in many ways. By reducing your dependence on non-renewable energy sources, you will not only save money, but you will also help promote a greener planet.

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