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Created by Nick Baker

Solar Panels for Apartments & Renters | 6 Best Solar Options

When it comes to the energy used in your own home, solar panels for apartments is one of the best …

When it comes to the energy used in your own home, solar panels for apartments is one of the best investments you can make. It offers both a fantastic way to reduce your carbon footprint and save money on your electricity bill.

solar panels for apartments

Many renters or those living in apartments feel they have limited options to invest in solar power, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. While it can vary from location to location, there are actually quite a few different solar panel options for apartments.

In this article, we take a deep dive into the different ways people are thinking outside the box in order to invest in solar power while renting or living in an apartment building.

1. Community solar projects

Community solar projects make up arguably the most popular way to invest in solar power outside of actually having panels installed on the roof. A community solar project allows individuals within a specific region to come together and purchase a large solar farm as a group.

While you may not be able to install solar panels on your own roof, you can invest in a community solar project that will export clean energy to your area. The power produced within your community’s solar system will be sold to your utility company and used within your specific community only.

On top of utilizing renewable energy, you’ll also save money on your electricity bill once the cost savings from the energy produced have been accounted for with virtual net metering. You’ll be able to take advantage of the clean energy from your community solar project so long as you remain in the same local area. It’s a great feature in most community solar projects because it doesn’t force renters to stay locked into one lease agreement.

2. Portable solar panels for apartments

Portable solar panels have become a popular way for consumers to utilize renewable energy any time they are on the go and might not have access to power. Portable solar systems have become efficient and affordable – making them a top option for those looking to use solar power in apartments.

Considering how popular they’ve become, you’ll likely be able to find a portable solar panel system that fits all of your needs. Most portable solar panels are rated between 100 and 300 watts, generating anywhere from 0.3 kWh and 1.5 kWh of electricity per day.

Your portable solar panel will likely come with battery storage as well, allowing you to access green energy any time of the day! Another benefit of investing in a portable solar panel is the tax credit. Portable solar falls under a long list of purchases that are partially covered under the federal tax credit. You’ll be able to save upwards of 30% on your green energy-producing little solar system.

3. Invest in green power

Investing in a community solar project is likely the easiest way to utilize the sun’s energy while living in an apartment complex, but it isn’t an option for everyone. Depending on where you live, you may be in a better place to buy green power for your apartment.

What is green power?

Green power is electricity produced by solar, wind, geothermal, biogas, biomass, and certain hydroelectric sources, provided by your utility company. Green power is offered as a part of a program that guarantees a certain portion, if not all, of your energy usage will be powered by renewables.

Unfortunately, purchasing green power doesn’t allow renter’s to save on their energy bills. In fact, it may even raise your rates slightly. Be that as it may, green power programs still provide a great way for those living in an apartment to utilize clean energy and reduce their carbon footprint.  

4. Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs)

Also known as Renewable Energy Credits, RECs are one of the many clean energy projects that allow the average household the ability to invest in renewables. They work in a way similar to green power buy guaranteeing the power you purchase for your home or apartment comes from a renewable source.  

One REC represents 1 MWh of energy. The average household will use around 11 MWh of electricity per year. RECs are endorsed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) alongside several other regulating bodies. You can purchase RECs directly from your power company or through certified retailers.

5. Plug in solar panels

When considering solar panels for apartments, another great option is to purchase ‘plug in solar panels.’ These products are exactly what they sound like – solar panels that plug into the wall of your apartment!

You can plug these solar panels into any standard wall outlet and the energy they produce will flow directly into your apartment for you to use. Plug in solar panels can be mounted to any place in your apartment that gets direct sunlight, such as a roof, windowsill, or exterior wall.

The plug in solar panel is already being utilized across Europe as a primary way to supplement energy usage in apartment buildings. These solar panels are affordable, efficient, and easy to install. They provide a fantastic way to mitigate energy consumption from non-renewables and save money on your utility bill.

Key going into socket

6. Ask your landlord about installing solar panels

While it may not be an option for everyone, those living in small apartment complexes, condominiums, or houses may be able to convince their landlord to install solar panels. As long as your home or apartment has a suitable roof, your landlord will have a lot to gain by installing solar panels.

In hoping to gain your landlord’s permission to install solar, consider the following points:

  • Homeowners are able to claim local, state, and federal tax credits when they switch to solar. [1]
  • Some states allow property owners to claim property and sales tax exemptions.
  • Homeowners can receive net metering credits for selling clean energy back to utility companies.
  • There are financing options that will be able to accommodate both the renter’s and landlord’s needs.
  • Solar panels will improve property value over time – Zillow estimates homes with solar systems are already selling for 4.1% more on average. [2]
  • Monthly utility bill will be lowered for all future renters.

It may seem like a stretch to be able to convince your landlord to install solar for your apartment or home. However, once your landlord sees the energy costs savings and investment benefits for their rental property, they’ll likely find just as much value in solar as you do. To really sell the idea of going solar to your landlord, you may even want to get some quotes from a few different solar installers.

A look forward at solar power for apartments and renters

As a renter, you may not think you have a lot of options when it comes to utilizing solar power. In reality, however, you have as many options at your disposable as anyone else. Whether it’s via community solar or a portable solar panel, there is likely a solar option available that will fit all your needs and requirements.

When it comes to utilizing green energy in your own home, the sky is the limit. Solar power still proves to be one of the best ways to both save money on your electricity bills and reduce your carbon footprint at the same time. It can seem difficult at first, but with the right information and consideration, anyone can find the right solution in providing their home with clean energy.


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Nick Baker
I'm extremely passionate about all things outdoors and have an active involvement in a conservation group in my local community.

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