How to Go Solar in Your Apartment
Solar power is undoubtedly the wave of the future . Because solar panels are coming way down in price, you’ll see more and more homeowners proudly sporting shiny energy-saving devices on their roofs, reducing their power bills.
But what about renters? You can’t install solar panels on top of an apartment building – it’s not your building to modify. Maybe you can get your landlord to agree, but good luck with that.
Fortunately, whether you want to go green, or just save on energy bills, there are some solutions for apartment dwellers out there. You probably can’t go totally off the grid, but that’s OK – every little bit helps.
The key is to think smaller.
Let the sun charge small devices
Your smartphone, tablet, or similar small device is the perfect place to start. They don’t have massive batteries or use a ton of electricity, making them the perfect place to start with using solar energy.
Using a solar charger is easy: buy one online or at an electronics store, set them out in the sun, and plug in your phone/tablet/etc. Now, it’s charging up and you’re not paying anything for it.
What you can’t do is install an app on your phone to let it charge. There’s no solar cell in your phone (otherwise it would be using it already), so you’re being caught by a hoax. You need separate solar panels to charge it like that.
Find a small solar panel and just plug it in
If you want to power more than just your phone, you do still have options. Rather than buying a huge array of panels, you can buy a modular system, where you start off with one solar panel and add more as you can afford them. These panels will connect to a power module, which you can either plug things directly into, or plug it into the wall, feeding the electricity back into your apartment’s wiring system.
Even better: When you move, you can take your panels with you.
If you can’t do that, you can at least invest in solar energy. There are a number of Community Solar projects, where everyone in the community invests some money into a nearby solar farm. The specifics of each vary, with some allowing you to buy solar energy cheaper, so make sure to look into what exactly is part of the project if you can find one in your community.
Renewable Energy Certificates
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 the solar panels on their roof, but 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.