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Last updated: November 23, 2023

Can You Install Solar Panels on a Rental Property?

Renters’ Options to Go Green

Can you go solar if you're a tenant?

Solar energy is a form of renewable energy that is quickly becoming a household name. More and more homeowners are racing towards going green, using clean energy, and reducing their carbon footprint. The question is, do tenants have the same option and freedom available? Can tenants choose to go green and use clean, renewable energy in a bid to reduce their carbon footprint?

The simple answer is, Yes. Although there are limited options available to you as a tenant, you can do so all the same. The simplest option would be to move to a place that already has solar. However, there are other options that you can explore if you are determined to go green, promote the use of clean, renewable energy, and fight climate change. Many solar installers or your local utility companies may be able to help you with finding the best option pertaining to your situation.

GreenMatch can help you get in touch with a certified installer that can help you explore the options of going solar while renting your place. Click on the button below and fill out the form. We will get you up to 3 free quotes from installers that best match your requirements.

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Ways in Which You can Enjoy the Benefits of Solar

One way you can enjoy the benefits of using solar power is to convince your landlord to install a solar panel system. Installing a solar system is more beneficial to the landlord than just you. The only benefit you reap off of the solar system is reduced energy bills. The landlord, on the other hand, reaps greater benefits in the long run. They have highly reduced energy bills, can benefit from net metering, and an increased value of their property.

However, convincing your landlord to install a solar system may be a bit of a stretch. Other than trying to convince your owner, you still have three other options for using clean, renewable solar energy.

Community Solar Subscription

One option you have is to subscribe to shared solar installations. Many nonprofit organizations or even your local utility company own large offsite solar farms. You can subscribe to these community solar projects to draw power for your home without installing solar panels on your roof. As a subscriber, you get credit on your energy bills based on your share of electricity generated. Being a renter, you do not require permission from your owner to subscribe to community solar.

Portable Solar Panels

The second option you have is to buy portable solar panels. If installing a full-scale PV system is not feasible, buying these pluggable solar systems may offer a solution. These systems can be installed on your balcony or windows, and some may work indoors too. You may also be eligible for the federal tax credit available for using solar power.

These systems may not be as efficient and reliable as a full-scale solar panel system but may work just fine for powering smaller appliances and devices. You may also be able to use these panel systems on camping trips. It is likely that you are eligible for the 30% federal tax credit available for using solar power.

You will, however, be required to get permission from your landlord for using a portable solar system. You may also contact your utility company and check if their policies would allow connecting your system to the grid. If their policy allows connecting the system with the grid, you may be able to take advantage of net metering too.

Buy Green Power

Green Rate or green pricing program and Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) are yet another way of using solar power.

Green rate or green pricing program is a facility offered by utility companies, through which they allow you to purchase at least a portion of your power supply from renewable sources such as solar. The one downside of this plan is that it may probably cost you more as they charge you per kilowatt hour of energy consumed. You may end up paying slightly higher than what you usually pay. However, if you’re determined to reduce your carbon footprint and fight climate change, this might be one way of doing it.

RECs are green certificates that can be bought through certified retailers. One Renewable Energy Certificate equals 1 megawatt hour of energy. Once you buy RECs, you’re using renewable energy, although not directly. However, the certificates you buy are reserved in your name and no one else can use them. The certificates track and record the source of renewable energy used.

Want to go green? You’re at the right place. GreenMatch can help you get in touch with the right people. Simply click the button below and fill out the form, explaining your requirements and we will do the rest.

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SOMAH: What’s In It for the Tenants?

The Californian government has introduced the SOMAH – Solar on Multifamily Affordable Housing program. This program is specifically designed to benefit low-income families living in heavily polluted. Through this program, the government is working towards providing families living in affordable housing and property owners with clean, renewable energy.

This program makes these families and property owners eligible to receive renewable energy tax credits on their energy bills. In turn, it promotes environmental sustainability and fights climate change. For tenants, this typically means low energy bills without worrying about cleaning and maintenance of the solar panel systems. The program does not impose an increase in your rent amount due to the solar installation. Apart from the financial benefits, families living in affordable housing can also look forward to paid job training opportunities.

For more information on this program, or to apply for this program visit https://calsomah.org/.

Pros and Cons of Going Solar for Tenants

As with everything, there are pros and cons of going solar for you as a tenant.

One of the major advantages of using solar power for your home is of course the financial benefit you gain. There will be a significant increase in energy bills, depending on the option you choose. If you decide to buy green power, you may, however, lose the financial benefit. On the contrary, you may end up paying more than usual for your energy bills.

The second benefit is that you will take a step towards using clean, renewable energy that promotes environmental sustainability and fight against climate change. Using solar power ceases the release of green gas that harms the climate and pollutes air and water. By going solar, you also reduce your carbon footprint.

The one major disadvantage of going solar, as a tenant, is that you may not gain as much financial incentives as the owner or your landlord would. And you, of course, may not save as much on energy bills as you expected.

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