Your alternatives for solar panels for apartments and tenants

One of the best investments you can make is switching to solar power, both financially and environmentally.

Going solar is simple for people who own their own houses. They may put a solar panel system on their roof and enjoy a significant return on investment while generating sustainable energy.

For those of us who live in apartment buildings or rental properties, getting solar is unfortunately far less simple. But don’t panic, you can still profit from clean solar power even if you don’t have a roof of your own. You could even be able to lower your electricity costs and carbon footprint as a result.

This article examines four solar energy solutions for renters and inhabitants of apartments.

Can I install solar panels in my apartment? 

Yes, but only if it’s a compact, portable system that can be used on your balcony or another outside space. The daily electricity output of these systems ranges between 0.3 and 1.5 kWh.

Can I install solar panels on the roof of a rented home? 

Theoretically, yes However, as it is a big property improvement, installing solar panels needs your landlord’s approval. However, we wouldn’t advise doing this because spending so much money on a house that isn’t yours doesn’t make sense. It would be better if you could persuade your landlord to install the system.

Can I lease or rent solar panels for the home I’m renting?  

No, a solar power system can only be leased or rented by the home’s owner. There is also a significant financial penalty for removing the solar panels before the contract period is over because solar leases and rentals are meant to be long-term agreements.

1. Ask your landlord to install solar panels

If you rent a house with a sufficient roof, this choice is exclusively applicable to you.

If that applies to you, you can turn your rental property green by persuading the owner that a solar installation would be beneficial to them as well.

To accomplish this, call your landlord and ask for a meeting to go through the following topics:

  • Homeowners can claim local and federal solar tax credits
  • In many states, they can claim solar property and sales tax exemptions
  • They can receive net metering credits for surplus energy generation
  • There are many solar financing options available for those who don’t have the upfront cash

Long-term property value will increase as a result of installing solar panels; according to a Zillow survey, homes with solar technology typically fetch 4.1% more when they are sold.

Additionally, finding tenants will be simpler for the landlord because the solar panels would reduce energy costs for incoming residents.

Before bringing up the subject, it is advised that you do some research on the price of solar panels in your region. You’ll be more prepared to start the conversation as a result.

2. Get a portable solar panel system

In recent years, portable solar panels have become steadily more affordable and effective. They are frequently used for things like RVs and camping and are now a practical source of electricity for people on the go.

They can work in an apartment or rented house because they can do so anywhere that gets sunlight. Small solar kits that may be installed on window sills, balcony railings, and banisters are simple to find.

These devices typically have a power rating of 100 to 300 watts and produce between 0.3 and 1.5 kWh of electricity daily. This is sufficient to power certain small appliances as well as your laptops and smartphones.

Advantages of portable solar systems 

The fact that portable solar systems have or can simply be coupled to attached battery storage is a benefit. This implies that you can utilize the power whenever you choose.

Another benefit is that some of these tiny solar energy systems are also eligible for the federal tax credit of 30%, which will considerably lower the price of your purchase.

The best feature is that you can bring your solar system with you when you change locations, which isn’t a simple choice for people who have rooftop solar arrays!

Disadvantages of portable solar systems 

However, you should be aware of a few drawbacks of portable solar systems.

Any portable system will generate less power than a solar power system that is installed on the ground or on a roof. This means that the majority of your energy requirements will still be satisfied by grid power.

Additionally, buying high-quality portable inverters and storage systems can be costly. In general, the cost per watt increases with the size of the solar system.

Disadvantages of portable solar systems

3. Join a community solar project

You might be able to participate in community solar projects depending on where you live. A community solar project enables residents of a particular neighborhood or town to band together and buy solar panels as a collective.

You contribute to the cost of a utility-grade installation rather than placing your solar panels on your roof or in your lawn. The local electric utility receives the system’s exported power.

Based on how much you contributed to the initiative, virtual net metering is then used to lower your power cost.

Join a community solar project

This makes it possible for you to save money using solar energy even if you don’t own a property. You gain from the savings as long as you remain in the same general vicinity of the community solar project. This gives you more freedom and enables you to relocate to a different rental home if necessary.

You can take advantage of economies of scale because you’re joining forces with other households and businesses to purchase a much larger system. Large-scale solar installations can generate power more affordably than a domestic system thanks to installation efficiencies and cheaper equipment prices.

The fact that community solar projects are not accessible everywhere is a significant drawback. In actuality, they are now only legal in a few of states. Even in areas where they are permitted, they can be challenging to launch because they are substantial projects that call for several stakeholder permissions and agreements.

4. Buy green power for your home

You can always buy green power if you can’t directly produce solar power for your home.

The EPA defines green electricity as the portion of renewable energy that has the greatest environmental advantages.

In case you were wondering, solar energy is indeed recognized by the EPA as a green power source.

There are two ways to do this: 

A. Buy green power directly from your utility 

Most utilities give their customers the option of using green energy.

Customers are guaranteed that a certain percentage, if not all, of their energy usage will come from approved renewable energy sources under these “green” rate plans (also known as “green pricing”).

Buying green power won’t save you any money; in fact, these solutions typically cost a few cents more than conventional electricity rates. However, this choice does provide customers the satisfaction of knowing they have lessened their carbon footprint.

B. Purchase RECs 

Purchasing Renewable Energy Certificates, or RECs, is an additional choice.

A REC attests that the electricity you bought for your house is renewable and environmentally friendly. The average family uses roughly 11 MWh of power per year, so each REC represents 1 MWh of energy.

Although you can purchase RECs directly from accredited suppliers, your utility usually uses RECs to offer its green pricing options.

Going solar in an apartment or rental is very doable

Many people believe that installing solar panels on your home’s roof is a requirement if you want to go solar.

But as we’ve explained in the essay, it’s also entirely conceivable for apartment owners and renters to gain from solar.

You can choose to pay for a portion of solar electricity produced elsewhere utilizing cutting-edge models like community solar, utility green power, and RECs, or you can choose to use a portable solar panel system that can be used anywhere there is sun.

The use of fossil fuels will decline as solar energy increases. Any way you decide to go solar, you will be helping the environment and perhaps even saving money on energy expenditures.

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