Can you get Solar Panels for your Apartment?

Excellent question, since as much as 40% of people in the United States rent an apartment.

A lot of people would like to go solar, but if you don’t own a home yet you might not have many options. To answer as simply as possible: it’s up the apartment’s landlord. A few innovative scenarios have been dreamed up though, including:

  1. Community solar panels: Putting up solar panels in a centralized location that feeds out to different apartments. In this scenario everyone gets a piece.
  2. Changing the Tenant / Landlord Relationship – There may ways to create a financial incentive for apartment owners to go solar. The problem right now is that while solar power is a good investment, apartment owners will not see the utility bill savings (the tenants get that). There may be a way to make this financially beneficial for both parties.
  3. Neighborhood Solar Arrays: It may also be possible to create incentives for homeowners to install more solar panel capacity than they need. If this happened, some excess solar energy could be sold to local apartment owners. Likely, this would require a feed-in tarrif of some kind that pays for extra energy production, as well as some policy changes.

While certain parts of the country may be very progressive on this type of thing (see San Francisco), most places you’re not going to have much of an option besides talking to your landlord and seeing what they say about it.

It’s likely that a landlord interested in putting solar panels on your apartment would have already thought about it, but if this isn’t the case you’ll have to provide some solid background information for them. This means that you need to do your homework first.

The best option may be to get a free solar evaluation for the home (this can be done online, immediately) which will give you documentation on the financials, as well as the various options for paying for the system. Take these to your land-lord and have a real discussion about it.

If you’ve had experiences with installing solar panels on apartment complexes, please let us know about your experiences.