Solar Energy Can Work for Renters Too

March 13, 2009 by  
Filed under Solar Panels

Homeowners everywhere have discovered the benefits of using solar energy to power their homes. It’s a great way for the environmentally conscious to reduce their energy consumption, and saves money on energy bills. If you live an apartment or home that you rent, solar energy might be an option for you too. With some creativity, there are ways to utilize solar energy without investing a fortune or making changes that a landlord could take issue with.

Try Portable Solar Power

Did you know that portable solar technology is available? It might not have enough power to take you “off grid,” but it can store enough to power small appliances. With access to sunlight, portable solar chargers can collect enough energy to power your TV or recharge your cell phone. All you need is a window, deck, or balcony to leave your charger near during the day. Unfortunately, portable systems can only power up to a few hours of use, and their cost might not justify the savings. But if your home is prone to power outages, solar energy chargers make an excellent backup source. They’re also an efficient, eco-friendly way to charge batteries.

Solicit Your Landlord

Green living is a hot new trend. Your landlord’s willingness to hear about the benefits of solar panels might surprise you. Put together a proposal, and get other renters of your building involved. This will take research and preparation, but could be a win-win for you, your landlord, and your fellow tenants. If you reside in an urban area, find out what other buildings are already using solar energy and how it’s working for them. Green buildings are sought after magnets for responsible, educated renters. See if you can learn how owners of existing buildings market the use of solar power to prospective tenants.

For your proposal, research what tax credits are available locally for installing solar panels. Contact your local electric company to see if they have net metering available in your area, which is a way to earn back credit from the energy generated by your panel system. If you go to your landlord with a thoughtful, planned out proposal that shows how solar panels will decrease vacancy, save them money, and benefit the environment, your chances of success are high.

Look for Green Buildings

The next time you’re in the market for a rental home or apartment, make solar paneling a criterion and see what’s already out there. You might find an apartment complex or community in your area that is already utilizing solar panel technology. Chances of this are greatest in college towns, which tend to be more progressive; in warm, sunny climates; and in cities or states that offer substantial tax benefits for the installation of solar panels.

As you can see, there are options out there for renters to add solar paneling to a green lifestyle. If you can’t find a building that already uses solar energy, you might be the one to help the landlord make positive changes. If that’s not an option, portable solar chargers are available, and technology is constantly improving and evolving so that new options for renters may be right around the corner.