Sustainable living has become a part of our daily lives. Some are adopting practices to help minimize their carbon footprint, whether it's composting food waste or using less single-use plastics, while others are going one step further and trying to figure out how to take advantage of solar energy. No doubt, some have wondered if they could become more energy efficient by incorporating solar panels for apartments.
The challenge, of course, is that an apartment isn't a tenant's building to modify, and a landlord may not be ready to make the leap and add solar panels anytime soon. So, how can most apartment dwellers take advantage of solar, whether it's to become more sustainable or save money on your energy costs?
For one thing, it pays to think smaller when it comes to solar and apartment living. If you want to go green, whether it's to save on energy bills or because you want to be more mindful of your energy use, think about allowing the sun to charge your smaller devices first.
Your smartphone, tablet or similar small electric device is the perfect place to start with harnessing the power of solar energy. They don't have massive batteries or use a ton of electricity, but we often use them on a daily basis, which is why starting with these devices makes sense.
Acquiring a solar charger is also easy and doesn't require buy-in from your landlord. Simply purchase a solar panel charger, set it outside and then connect it to your devices to charge them. Consider buying a portable one if you want to take it with you on camping trips or when you're traveling.
Now when you're charging your electronics, you're not using your electricity so you don't need to pay any additional out-of-pocket costs.
If you want to power more than just your small devices and have the ability to take your panels with you to another home later, solar panel kits might be a good investment. Instead of having to buy individual pieces, you can usually start with the basic items and then add solar panels as you wish or when you have space.
There are several different types of solar panel kit options. They're each dependent on your space and budget, so it's hard to recommend a specific one. Search the term solar panel kits online to get an idea of what's available.
If neither of these options works for you right now, you may want to consider investing in solar energy. Community solar is becoming more popular. As of 2019, community solar projects can be found in 40 states with at least one project on-line.
Community solar allows those living in apartments or rental properties to receive credit on their electricity bills for the power produced from their portion of a solar array, thereby offsetting their electricity costs, according to Solar Energy Industries Association.
Not only is your investment helping add renewable energy to the grid, but it also can lower electricity costs through the credits. When you move, you don't need to abandon your community solar share. Search for terms such as community solar project, solar garden or shared renewable energy plant and your neighborhood or city to find one near you.
On the other end of the community solar spectrum, you can also buy renewable energy from other people who have produced it. It could be from a dedicated solar farm or someone down the street with solar panels on their roof.
Wherever it comes from, a Renewable Energy Certificate verifies that your electricity was produced in a renewable way. Check with your local power company to see if they have options for buying Renewable Energy Certificates if you decide to go this route.
Whether you want to go green, or just save on energy bills, you'll find solutions for apartment dwellers. While you might not be able to convince your landlord to install solar panels for apartments, there are other options to help you add more solar to your living environment.