Going Solar in Your Apartment: 5 Ways to Get Started

If you own a home, going solar is a no-brainer. Upon installation of a solar system you immediately begin to reduce your energy bills. As an investment, solar can provide an amazing return every month as you see your energy bill shrinking.

You are automatically protected against rising energy prices, and a good solar system will increase your property value. But what if you are living in an apartment in Milwaukee or a small apartment you purchased on a contract for deed in Minnesota? Here are some ways that you can take advantage of solar energy:

Talk to Your Landlord

The first thing you can do is have a conversation with your landlord and show him the previous paragraph. It contains four solid reasons to go solar, and if you can get your landlord to make the move, you can benefit at the same time.

Buy a Solar Panel

You can get a small solar panel that you can place on your windowsill. Of course, you may need your landlord’s permission to do this, but maybe you don’t, so check your lease. You can purchase this online, find out what other components you will need, and find many sites that will guide you through the installation prices. A simple small solar system like this could power all of your lights and your computer. Systems like this might cost a few hundred dollars, but if you pay your own utility bill, you will notice the difference.

Get a Solar Charger

Buy an inexpensive solar charger, put it in the sun, and charge your phone later with the stored power. Most of these are built for phone-charging, and they come with the added advantage of being great for camping trips where AC power may be unavailable.

Renewable Energy Certificates

This one by be strictly for altruistic purposes, but a renewable energy certificate is proof that one megawatt-hour of electricity was produced from renewable sources. These certificates can be bought and sold, and if you purchase one, you can rightfully claim that you bought renewable energy. Green energy producers like wind farms are credited with these certificates, and by buying some, you are helping the green energy movement.

Community Solar Groups

In New York City, apartment dwellers are joining with other residents to connect with solar panels placed elsewhere, like a Brooklyn warehouse rooftop. You join a group, and you invest in the solar panels that allow the group to sell power to utilities. This, in turn, gives the community solar group members discounts on their electric bills. In New York, anyone that is fed by the main power company, ConEd, can join a community group. Then they pay their bills to a third-party provider.

While this is not exactly direct solar power, it does give apartment dwellers from New York City a chance to make a difference while saving some utility bill dollars.

Just because you live in an apartment and you’re working hard to pay off your student loans doesn’t mean that you can’t join the solar power revolution. Start with a solar phone charger and add a portable panel, and you’ll be on the way to renewable energy savings.