Inexpensive And Portable Solar Lighting For Your Tiny House

I see Instagram photos, blog posts, and status updates on a daily basis that show incredible solar systems in place on tiny houses, travel trailers, small homes. Heck, even the beautiful sailing vessels shown on this site as of late have solar power. I awe at the engineering, the understanding, the translation, and the implementation. Two years ago it was all I could do to purchase a small kit from Harbor Freight, hook it to my ATV battery, and get it to turn on a lamp. I was dumbfounded. Unfortunately, times have not changed and my family still is not on solar in a way that would pull us off grid for any amount of time. We make do though with the help of some very clever products that work without being part of a larger system. One of those is our current lighting discovery: MPOWERD Luci solar lamps.

MPOWERD 1Perhaps what I think is most admirable about Luci is that its mother company MPOWERD “aspires to empower people everywhere with innovative and affordable personal clean energy products. Inspired by the 2010 earthquake in Haiti that left millions without power, MPOWERD was founded by a group of like-minded individuals in 2012 who wanted to ‘do good by doing well’.” Not only do they sell a very affordable, efficient, and clever product, but they do so with a conscious and a desire to provide clean energy products and solutions for people living and playing on and off the grid.

I invite you to spend the next 4 minutes watching this short video on the ease and effectiveness of Luci solar lamps. Just hover over the video image and click on the red, centrally located, standard YouTube play button to view.

After having watched the above video I hope you’ll consider subscribing to the Tiny r(E)volution via the button below for a weekly video uncovering more topics of tiny houses and life on the road.

Subscribe_Button

By Andrew M. Odom for the [Tiny House Blog]

 

Portable Solar Camping

We spent most of last week camping at Big Bear Lake in Southern California. We were celebrating my mother’s 80th birthday and also my folks 60th wedding anniversary that actually happened back in June. Also it was the first time in a couple of years that all of us were able to get together. My two brothers and my sister and all our kids and their spouses. It was lots of fun. My uncle and his wife live down the road from where we camped so we did go to their home as well.

My wife and I also celebrated our 32nd anniversary on this trip so that was fun also.

80 watt solar panel

This was my first chance to use the Zamp Solar 80 Watt panel that I featured back a few months ago in a post in a test based at our home. I am happy to tell you that it kept up with our usage of electricity. Though we really just used the power for the water pump for the kitchen and toilet and lights at night I was happy to find out that the 80 watt solar panel could easily keep up with that type of use. Each day I would connect the panel and within two or three hours it would top off my battery. It is exciting to use the sun in this way. I did not have to turn the generator on once during our four day camping trip.

To learn more about this panel visit my previous post called the 80 Watt Zamp Solar Portable Charging System.

The Family

The Family

Janelle and I

Janelle and I

 

Taliesin West Miner’s Shelter

Most architecture students don’t have to build their graduate project first in order to be able to live and study. However, at Taliesen West, Frank Lloyd Wright’s winter office and now an architectural school, students have to sleep outside in the desert in either a tent or in a shelter of their own design. Student David Frazee fashioned his desert shelter after an old miner’s shack — with a few more amenities.

taliesen-west-tiny-house

David based his tiny shelter from some architectural ruins found on the school’s site. The concrete pad it sits on and the old chimney were used as a base for the tiny house. The shelter is held at two feet above the desert surface by two steel posts and one of the original concrete walls. The shelter is covered with rusted steel panels that are attached to metal channels , which hold the panels three inches off of the wall. The air space allows for hot air to vent away from the structure. The home is also paneled with redwood sheets and shaded by a tall Palo Verde tree. The steel and wood were selected for their aging qualities and durability in the desert sun.

taliesen-west-tiny-housed5

taliesen-west-tiny-house6

taliesen-west-tiny-house2

The interior walls are a combination of plaster and birch plywood. The shelter’s operable windows allow gentle, desert breezes to flow over the bed. This student shelter does not contain a bathroom, shower or kitchen. Some existing blocks found on the site were used to level out the ground of the existing concrete pad, creating a wonderful sitting area for some nighttime viewing of the stars, the outdoor fireplace and probably more than a few textbooks.

David Frazee currently works with the Broken Arrow Workshop. A collective of Taliesin graduates who are dedicated to continue the legacy of Taliesin, by living through design.

taliesen-west-tiny-house3

taliesen-west-tiny-hous4

Photos by Archinect

NOMAD Micro Home

This stylish and energy efficient 10×10 foot micro home from NOMAD in British Columbia comes as a flat-pack micro cottage that can be assembled in just a few days. The NOMAD can also be customized to include a wet bath and appliances or no bathroom or appliances at all if you want to save some money. No matter what you choose, this cottage will still run you under $30,000.

nomad-microhome

The micro home was designed and developed by Ian Lorne Kent who has been designing family and commercial developments for more than 35 years. His dream with the NOMAD was to create an efficient and cozy home with a minimal impact on space and the environment. He also wanted it to feel open and airy with the use of large windows. The NOMAD Live version includes a kitchen with a propane stove, fridge and sink next to a small living area and a bathroom. His innovative staircase curves around the kitchen and leads to a loft bed and closet area that floats above the main room. The NOMAD Space includes the same space but without a bathroom or appliances. The Live is $28,000 and the Space is $25,000 and both versions are designed to be on-or off-grid.

nomad-microhome-interior

nomad-microhome-interior2

nomad-microhome-loft

Both electrical (12V) and plumbing systems come with the delivered materials. The entire structure is built with metal structural insulated panels with an R-12 rating and a roof and floor with an R-24 rating. The exterior is galvanized metal siding and the interior walls are pre-finished metal panels. Add-ons include stair drawers for extra storage, a surrounding deck, a sliding sun shade and solar power, gray water and rain water collection systems. The NOMAD can be shipped worldwide and can be assembled or disassembled by two people with some handyman skills.

nomad-microhome-plan

 

Photos by NOMAD Micro Home

Wes and Zamp Solar

by Wes Nave

Being from the era where we take a lot for granted, one thing constantly stands out in my mind. Why don’t we take advantage of our naturally occurring resources to provide for us?

I remember my grandmother telling me about the early pioneer days when building sod houses (a common practice during the early 1900’s for people coming west) over a creek worked as a refrigerator to keep milk and butter cold – and probably great grand dads home brew cold as well! She also told me they would orient the house to catch the morning sun, but be away from the afternoon sun to help keep the house cool.

During my career I have taken an interest in understanding these practices and helping other people understand how to use natural resource to live more sustainable lives.

I’ve chosen a career in Solar Energy. I am not an expert and certainly I do not pretend to be one, however, I successfully help people understand and take advantage of solar energy, primarily in the lower voltage arena used primarily for the RV and Marine, Agricultural, and Light Industrial Industries.

portable and cabin solar

We have now ventured into the realm of off grid power for remote cabins, tiny houses, cottages, outbuildings, and any other place where the minimalistic lifestyle comes into play, not by accident, but purely on purpose.

Our understanding of lower voltage systems has enabled us to excel and be somewhat of an industry leader in bringing new and imaginable battery charging systems to market to help solve one difficult problem at a time.

In the following weeks I would like to help you understand how Solar Energy, used in the right way can, help the Tiny House Market solve some very important energy and power restriction issues that plague mobility, home location and cost.

I invite you to ask me questions and I will do my best to help answer those questions. Please keep in mind that my education is in the area of re-charging battery banks and not in providing ways to “put power back to the grid” that my friends I must direct you to the residential and commercial side of Solar Energy. We believe in keeping it simple and affordable.

The name brand Solar Panels are Zamp Solar panels with Solar Cells manufactured by Bosch in Germany.

Our 3000 watt inverter is our own brand and it is one of the only complete Pure Sine Wave inverters that contains an adjustable 90 amp battery charger, built in 60 Amp MPPT Solar Charge controller, and many more standard features that are listed on our website, or I would be more than happy to distribute.

Our kit is designed as a simple plug n play system. Mount the panels, plug them into the weather proof combiner box with built in fuses and fuse block, then twist on the terminal ends to the supplied cabling to your batteries. Its that simple.

You can certainly save money by buying individual components and shopping around, if you can ill afford the luxury of buying a custom designed, self contained complete kit with 25 year warranty, the largest wattage panels with the smallest footprint A+ Monocrystaline panels available today.

You can check out our products at Solardealz.com and get a special 10% discount using the coupon code tinyhomesolar for the cabin systems.

Zamp solar deal