Solar Power Options For Renters

Solar power is a great eco-friendly energy source but it can be difficult to access as a renter. Here are a few renter-friendly options for accessing solar energy!

Published on
August 23, 2023
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Solar Power Options For Renters


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What is solar power?

Solar power is energy from the sun that can be generated into electricity (Solar Energy Industries Association, n.d.). The light emitted from the sun is known as solar radiation or electromagnetic radiation. When this light is converted with solar technologies such as photovoltaic panels (PV), otherwise known as solar panels, and stored in batteries or thermal storage, solar energy can be used as electricity (U.S. Department of Energy, n.d.).

Solar energy is the leading environmentally-friendly energy source and is the most abundant energy source available (Solar Energy Industries Association, n.d.). In just an hour and 30 minutes, the amount of sunlight that reaches the earth’s surface carries enough energy for a year’s supply of electricity for the entire world (U.S. Department of Energy, n.d.). This energy can be used to generate lighting, heating, and other electrical needs for domestic, commercial, and industrial use (Solar Energy Industries Association, n.d.).

Benefits of solar power

Although solar power has many perks, providing a renewable and environmentally-friendly option for energy is considered one of the greatest benefits. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, every “kilowatt-hour (kWh) of solar that is generated will substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions like CO2, as well as other dangerous pollutants such as sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides, and particulate matter,” along with reducing water consumption (U.S. Department of Energy, n.d.). As a renewable energy source, solar energy will never deplete and avoids environmental damage that can be caused by extracting fossil fuels (Constellation, n.d.).

Another huge benefit for businesses and individual households using solar power is the savings on utility bills. The amount of money one could save per month depends on the amount of electricity consumed, the size of the solar energy system, the number of hours you receive from direct sunlight, the size and angle of the roof, and the local electricity rates (U.S. Department of Energy, n.d.). Despite these varying factors, solar energy will likely lower the monthly bill by some percentage. Solar panels have low maintenance costs and an average lifespan of 25 years (Constellation, n.d.), making them a low-risk investment in the long term (U.S. Department of Energy, n.d.).

Solar power can generate electricity in all climates. Areas in the Pacific Northwest experiencing more overcast weather can still benefit from solar power. Cloudy weather may affect the amount generated, but it typically does not interrupt your energy consumption or savings. Solar panels are not affected by cold temperatures, and can actually benefit from snowfall. As snow melts, sunlight will reflect off snow and increase electrical production (Constellation, n.d.).

Additionally, installing solar panels can increase home values. A property’s value can increase up to $15,000 more than neighboring homes by installing solar panels (Constellation, n.d.). The range of benefits solar power provides, from environmentally-friendly perks to cost saving advantages, makes it a very desirable trait for many home buyers and renters.

Solar energy options for renters

Despite all the benefits solar energy can provide, it can be difficult for renters to access. The decision to install solar panels is usually up to the landlord and not the renter. You may request your landlord to install solar panels or you can ask for permission to purchase and install solar panels yourself. If a landlord is unable to install solar panels on the property or give the renter permission to do so, there are still some solar power options available to renters.

  1. Join a community solar project

Community solar projects are relatively new concepts and aren’t available in every region, but it’s worth checking to see if your community has one nearby. These projects are large solar farms that will provide solar energy to your local area and could provide some savings on your electricity bills. Payment of the utility bill will continue through your regular electricity company or a company that handles the billing for the solar project (Zito, 2022).

  1. Purchase plug-in solar panels

Plug-in solar panels are connected to a standard wall outlet and must be placed in an area that can absorb the sun. These solar models will still require permission from your landlord, but they are more likely to allow this solar model because the plug-in panels don’t require roof installation. This route will likely require signing a contract with your utility company for excess energy produced that goes unused (Zito, 2022).

  1. Purchase a green energy plan with your utility company

Many utility companies offer green energy plans with renewable energy sourced from solar power. These plans usually do not provide money savings and will likely cost more than your current utility rates, but if your goal is to reduce your carbon footprint, green energy plans may be a good option (Zito, 2022).

  1. Purchase renewable energy certificates

Renewable energy certificates (RECs) equal 1 megawatt-hour of renewable energy. These certificates can be purchased through certified retailers, are tracked and recorded, and only the owner can use it (Zito, 2022).

  1. Install solar lights

Solar lighting is predominantly for outdoor use, but replacing what you can with renewable energy will help you save money and reduce your carbon footprint. Solar lights can be found as string lights, ground lights, and a variety of other outdoor lighting options. For indoors, you can opt for LED lights which are more energy efficient than regular light bulbs. It won’t be solar-powered or energy from a renewable source, but it may slightly reduce your carbon footprint.

Accessing a renewable energy source and reducing your carbon footprint may come with more obstacles as a renter, but it's not impossible! Bridge Homes advocates for home practices that are positive for the environment. Visit our blog to learn more about how you can make your home eco-friendly!


How Does Solar Work?

Solar Energy

Benefits of Residential Solar Electricity

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Solar Energy

Your Guide To Solar Panel Options For Rentals And Apartments

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