Solar for Manufactured Homes: An Assessment of the Opportunities and Challenges in 14 States

Warren Leon, Kat Burnham, Nate Hausman, and Laura Schieb | Clean Energy States Alliance

Manufactured homes, formerly referred to as mobile homes, comprise over six percent of America’s housing stock and represent an even larger share of housing for low- and moderate-income (LMI) households. This market should receive targeted attention if solar is to be developed equitably and if all segments of society are to realize economic benefits from solar.

The first volume in this report describes the nature of the manufactured housing stock and shows how those homes are distributed across the country. It explains the general obstacles to LMI solar, as well as additional challenges related specifically to manufactured housing. It identifies the types of solar technologies that can work with manufactured housing and includes nine case studies that highlight ways in which solar can be deployed to benefit manufactured housing residents. The report is informed by the results of surveys of solar installation companies and manufactured home residents.

The second volume examines the situation in 14 states in different parts of the country, each with different solar markets and policies. It identifies the most promising ways to bring the benefits of solar power to manufactured housing residents in each of the following states: Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Texas, and Virginia.

The first two volumes of the report provide eight general recommendations that can guide future solar development. They are:

  1. Assess the manufactured housing stock in the state or utility service territory
  2. Start with modest targeted efforts
  3. Recognize that special funding or incentives will be necessary
  4. Find the best venues for pursuing a “Solarize” strategy involving group purchasing and a community marketing campaign
  5. Target resident-owned and other nonprofit manufactured housing communities
  6. Promote certain types of large community-scale solar arrays
  7. Support efforts to incorporate solar into new manufactured homes
  8. Consider third-party ownership, on-bill financing, and other special financing

As an appendix to the report, you can access a table which summarizes opportunities for solar for manufactured homes in each of the 14 states studied. The table identifies the market segments, programs, and financing strategies that are most likely to lead to successful solar installations and pilot programs. The table also indicates if certain utilities or categories of utilities deserve special attention.

This material is based upon work supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), specifically the Solar Energy Technologies Office.

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