Off Grid Solar Cavco Park Model

Off Grid Solar Cavco Park Model


I have been communicating with Tim Gage, vice president of Cavco’s Specialty Division about the company’s new off-grid solar park model home. Tim has shared with me the following information from his press release regarding this new home.

The solar home has a $47,000 starting price, and this home shown here has options that top it out around $70,000.


Options like Bamboo flooring, upgrade slate tile backsplashes, upgrade kitchen cabinets, 12’ sliding glass doors etc. If you are in the Pomona, California area, you can view this model at the California RV Show through October 19, 2008. Be sure and page down to view all the pictures and a floor plan of the solar powered park model.

Cavco becomes nation’s first company in the RV Business to produce factory delivered, Solar-Powered Park Models.

Cavco’s park models, which are used as vacation cottages at campgrounds and RV resorts across the country, are now being equipped with solar panels and batteries provided through an exclusive arrangement with Ready Solar Inc. of Redwood City, Calif.

The recreational park trailer or “park model” industry is gaining notoriety as growing numbers of consumers discover that the 400-square foot cottage-like units can be permanently placed in campgrounds and RV resorts and used as low cost vacation cabins.

But thanks to Phoenix-based Cavco Industries, consumers who purchase these units will not only obtaining a vacation cottage at a fraction of the price of a site built home or condo. They’re also doing something positive for the environment.

Cavco has become the first park model manufacturer in the country to produce solar powered park models.

“We believe we are the first company in the RV business to produce a trailer product that can produce its own electrical power,” said Tim Gage, vice president of Cavco’s Specialty Division, which produces park model cabins. He added that demand for the 400-square foot cabins has been “off the charts” since the company introduced the product in June.

Still relatively unknown to most consumers, recreational park trailers or “park models” are 400-square foot movable resort cottages that are designed exclusively for part-time recreational use. Typically upscale in appearance, they often include hardwood floors, bay windows and lofts as well as cherry, oak or maple cabinetry.

And because park models are technically classified as recreational vehicles, they can be set up on leased or purchased sites in campgrounds and RV parks and used as weekend retreats or seasonal vacation dwellings.

But unlike most trailer products, which have to be hooked up to electrical utilities, Cavco’s solar powered park models have enough panels to generate their own power. The units come equipped with energy efficient light bulbs and kitchen appliances, including tankless water heaters, as well as maintenance free batteries that are designed to store enough power to last for two days. Gasoline-powered generators are also provided as an emergency backup system. But Gage said he anticipates that most of Cavco’s solar powered park models will be sold to consumers in Southwestern, Rocky Mountain and Sunbelt states, where there is plenty of sunshine to keep the batteries charged.

Cavco is providing the solar technology through an exclusive arrangement with Redwood City, Calif.-based Ready Solar, Inc. He said the solar packages, which include panels and batteries, add about $5,000 to $7,000 to the price of a park model, depending on the park model’s solar energy requirements. The typical park model sells for about $40,000 without the solar power capability.

“Our adoption of solar energy systems is the first chapter of our efforts to develop green park models,” Gage said, adding, “There will likely be 10 more chapters as we get further into this.”

For more information on Cavco’s park models or its solar energy systems, please contact Tim Gage at (602) 763-5488 or Meredith McClintock at Ready Solar Inc. at (650) 255-1828 and visit their respective websites at and

Cavco Kitchen
Cavco Kitchen
Cavco Living Room
Cavco Living Room
Cavco Bathroom
Cavco Bathroom
Cavco Bedroom
Cavco Bedroom
Cavco Solar
Ready Solar Instruments
Cavco Freedom-6 Floor Plan
Cavco Freedom-6 Floor Plan
Cavco Off Grid RV Show
Cavco Off Grid at RV Show in Pomona, CA

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  1. The interior of this model is stunning! It reminds me of the Michelle Kaufmann homes without the ultra-high price. Very, very nice!! I think this will be very popular among people in urban areas too.

  2. these types of homes have come a long way since I was a kid visiting my grandma. It would be nice to have the more common type seen in trailer parks replaced with these with more modern looks.


  3. This is great. Nice exterior and simple interior design. Not as “precious” as some of them, with ruffles etc. I’ve been waiting to see a major manufacturer do this — solar park model — at a reasonable price. I hope they have a lot of success with it.

    I suppose it uses the same R11 wall insulation as the regular models. Like to see them beef that up to R24 or more, but I suppose the size puts a constraint on that.

    • Think again. I’ve been looking into off-grid housing a lot lately, as I would really like to build a small off-grid “granny suite” type home. I’ve found a number of off-grid projects in England and Scotland, including weehouse. Solar is getting more efficient and most houses use a combination of energy sources.

  4. These are copies of homes that are produced by a Northwest company called Ideabox. You can check out their website at

    They were the first to introduce modern architecture to the manufactured home movement from what I understand.

    It appears as though Cavco has paid them the ultimate complement…by completely imitating them! Very flattering.

    From what I understand, the Ideabox has won a great amount of recognition for it’s sustainable construction and energy efficiency.

    • Actually, the idea box looks almost identical to the Clayton homes I-house, which is no longer in production. I am thinking that these were ahead of their time.

  5. I don’t think Ideabox has any corner on the shed roof design. In a small home, a shed roof is the ONLY design you can have to get enough solar panels on the roof and facing at something approximating a good South-facing angle.

    The interior is different from Ideabox too.

    Ideabox is fine if you live near them, otherwise you get shafted paying transportation costs. I hope every large manufacturer of homes in the country jumps on making green/solar modern homes.

    My regret with Cavco, is that they didn’t go beyond “park model” RV (zoning can be very restrictive if you want to live in one of these), to smaller home sizes, 600 to 900 sq. ft.

    Tiny homes have gotten a lot of attention, because of the extreme. Even so, I love tiny homes. However, a larger market exists for 600 sq. ft. and up. How to get people who otherwise would have bought a 1800 sq. ft. home, to maybe consider a 1000 sq. ft. solar home. That would cause a transformation.

    All a company has to do is come out with one that is appealing enough, feels wonderful inside, and is affordable.

    I came back here today, because your site has nice photos. Why is it that the main Cavco site, now has only one photo for this home. You download the PDF brochure and it is a floor plan only. It is as if they think that only people who are interested in a 1400+ sq. ft. home want to see pictures of the product!

    It is 2009. Major manufacturers should have video of every one of their homes, just as Clayton has done with the i-house.

    • Hi Tom – good point about actual square footage that most people will choose to downsize to. I really like the way you stated it and may try to fit that into a post sometime in the near future…Kent

  6. Talking with the Cavco park model guys a few months ago they will be introducing a cabin / lodge type of small house. The prototype will be a off grid for campgrounds. They do build larger size for private property.


  7. These little solar homes are really nice. They seems to have everything you need and the solar is the real kicker. I agree with 70K being a bit much but who knows a little negotiating may help. I think I could adapt to save money.

  8. I am very impressed with the new solar equipped home built by Cavco. Just like Cavco, we design and build outside the box. Just as the rv industry has re-invented interest in rv’s with the use of slideouts to increase square footage and use of space, we have invented(patent pending) ” Room Roll Outs,” our answer to the skinny floor plans of tiny houses present today. No matter how much you try to convince people how wonderful it is to live in today’s tiny house, tiny is tiny. Americans, in particular, tend to be over weight. Therefore, they need more space to move around. Our homes have the most square footage of any tiny homes. Our 8’by 20′ contemporary model is pushing the envelope at 380 square feet and 275 square feet of wood decking. Our new mediterranean model which is built on a 8′ by 28′ trailer is just under 500 square feet. Our 8’by 8′ 1900’s Sunday House, currently under construction, is to be our prototype home, easily trailerable to conventions etc due to it’s small footprint, however, this home will feature one “room Roll Out” which will contain a complete kitchen. Additionally, this home will showcase our first collaspable roof for transporting down the highway, and will be totally self sustainable with our exclusive trophospheric water precipitation water generator, incinerator toilet, and, of course, our solar system for off grid living. Our demo video presentation(not edited may be seen on You Tube, and, additionally, we now have 2 new demo videos(not edited) or type in ragsdalehomes tiny houses on wheels. In conclusion, our home will be available in a totally self sustainable model which has no need for sewer, electriciy, or water, if desired.chow