How do you create a fully off-grid lifestyle in a wilderness lodge without compromising on upscale comforts? This installer story shows how best-of-brand solar energy solutions made it possible.

Every solar mount project is different, but capacity, reliability, and suitability are consistent requirements.

When it comes to capacity, cost needs to be justified through power generation potential. Return on investment is a major consideration in many off-grid projects and budget can be a significant driver of design and installation choices.

But, there’s no putting a price on reliability and suitability. Identifying and implementing the best solution for a project is what matters most.

When meeting these requirements, some off-grid projects present unique challenges, like the desire for many luxury amenities, in a region where multi-day blizzards and double-digit snow accumulation are the norm.

These factors amounted to a project that Five Star Nomadic owner, operator, and energy system installer, Steven Lewis called “career-making”. It was also a perfect testing ground to show how MT Solar ground mounts are the logical choice when capacity, reliability, and suitability cannot be compromised.

High-End, Off-Grid Solar Power

Jackson Meadows is a rugged lake shore in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains. It’s where Eric, an avid snowmobiler, turned an old lodge into a sustainable personal retreat that’s also a picture of luxury. When he first discovered the pine-encircled property, he wanted to create an escape with complete modern comforts, all powered completely off-grid.

Going off-grid wasn’t just about sustainability, but practicality. The lodge is located nearly 20 miles from the nearest powerline and sits at 7000 feet in the second-highest snow load zone of the Sierras. Traveling to and from the location during the region’s “Snow Park” season is only possible in a snowcat vehicle or specially outfitted SUV. Completing a service call to have power restored here isn’t simple or always possible.

For Eric, this rugged and remote place was integral to his vision. After restoring the house’s windows, wiring, plumbing, and insulation, he was ready to start adding the amenities.

A full kitchen, lighting and connectivity, floors with radiant heating, top-of-the-line appliances, a jacuzzi, saunas, and steam shower were planned for the 3000-square-foot main house. Power was also required for the property’s garage, two RV ports, a well-house with an electric pump, a fire suppression system, and an 800-square-foot yoga studio, which doubles as a guest house.

Peace of mind was also the highest priority. Keeping all these conveniences powered and accessible, in a place where snowstorms can last days and leave shoulder-height drifts, required high-endurance solar power and energy storage.

lodge at jackson meadows exterior in winter
The Lodge at Jackson Meadows
arrays in a snow field
Three MT Solar pole mounts support 72 solar modules

Rising Above The Snow

Three, extra-heavy-duty top-of-pole mounts from MT Solar provided the racking to support a total of 72 PV modules distributed across three solar arrays. With a front-edge height of 12 feet, the mounts gave ample ground clearance to keep the solar arrays clear of snow accumulation and plow operation while enabling the 405-watt modules to feed 30kW of power to the property.

The installation suited Five Star Nomadic’s distinct approach to sustainable, self-contained power. By combining his passion for off-grid living and expertise in civil engineering and project management, Steven Lewis created a company that deploys innovative technologies and designs to realize top-of-the-line energy solutions.

He emphasized the importance of module support and clearance in a Battle Born Batteries video showcasing the project: “So these [solar panels] are designed around 275 psf of snow load. And when there’s no snow on the ground, the lower edge of the panels are 12 feet off the ground to allow more snow runoff and basically give us that much more clearance underneath them to just get rid of all of this snow that happens out here.”

Each of the property’s two-pole solar mounts offers tilt angle adjustability that optimizes seasonal output. The complete system yields 400 amps of 120/240-volt service. While entirely off-grid, the setup meets power needs that would be substantial in an ordinary, fully connected home, let alone one in a snowmobiler’s sustainable paradise.

Steven Lewis of Five Star Nomadic

A Robust System in a Top-Tier Solution

MT Solar mounts were selected after Steven teamed up with Bill Huss, Manager of Stationary Markets at Dragonfly Energy, to design a top-tier residential power storage for the project. Dragonfly Energy is known as a leading force in green energy storage. The company’s Battle Born Batteries utilize lithium iron phosphate to deliver a highly efficient, stable, and enduring performance that’s unrivaled by other options.

“Working with MT Solar was the perfect fit because they make a robust system that was going to handle these high snow loads that nobody else in the industry can accomplish,” Bill states in Battle Born Batteries’ video.


To create a true set-it-and-forget-it solution, Steven and Bill implemented a 64-battery bank with three MPPT solar charge controllers and four Sol-Ark hybrid inverters, which Steven refers to as the heart of the system. The resulting energy storage can be considered groundbreaking for off-grid living, which made it perfectly suited to this project.

Reflecting the installation, Steven sums up what this level of investment ultimately means: “People pay a lot of money to live this kind of a lifestyle and they don’t want to have to worry about their power. They don’t want to have to worry about, ‘Is there too much snow, or are my solar panels going to break, or am I going to run out of battery because a six-day storm is coming in?’ So that’s why I pair up with Dragonfly, with MT Solar.”

MT Solar was proud to partner with professionals like Steven Lewis and Bill Huss as they and their teams realized this first-in-its-class, off-grid installation. It’s our goal to create products that are the go-to choice wherever adaptability and reliability are priorities, whether they’re ambitious dream homes or everyday places. Each one shows that an MT Solar mount is more than just a resource to perform a single function, it’s a solution that facilitates sustainable and robust energy generation in more locations.

Project Video