Although the benefits of installing solar panels are well-documented, home renters and apartment tenants have largely remained absent from Maryland, DC’s solar revolution.
The reason behind this relative inactivity?
- Firstly, solar photovoltaic (PV) installations can only be approved by property owners — not renters
- Secondly, apartment owners and building managers (i.e. landlords) don’t usually pay for the electricity that their tenants consume
In other words, landlords don’t directly enjoy the environmental or financial benefits of solar installations. However, the ability to offer tenants lower monthly electricity bills and smaller carbon footprints makes filling vacancies much easier.
But because you don’t actually own the property, you still need to get your landlord’s permission before installing any type of solar technology on the grounds or rooftop.
To make the strongest case possible when requesting landlord approval, it helps to prepare the following in advance.
1. Calculating Energy Consumption
Determine how large an installation you’ll need to cover your electricity use. A free solar panel estimate is a good start. And there exist any number of online and smart phone-enabled solar calculators like:
2. Determining Feasibility
If you rent your house, there’s a good chance you have enough land or rooftop space to accommodate a solar installation.
Apartment renters are not always so fortunate. Some properties have plenty of rooftop space — most do not. The same is true of land for ground-mounted systems.
By requesting a free on-site inspection from a solar contractor, you can determine whether or not an installation is feasible.
3. Calculating Solar Installation Costs
Because landlord’s don’t typically have much financial incentive to install solar panels, the burden will likely fall on you.
But fortunately, leasing options coupled with local, state, and federal tax credits can help you dramatically reduce the total cost of your solar installation. In fact, Maryland, DC has some of the most attractive solar incentives in the country.
4. Involving Your Neighbors
Your case will be much stronger if you involve other tenants in the process. By approaching your landlord as a group, he or she may allow you to outfit the entire complex with solar panels.
If you need inspiration, follow the Arizona Solar Power Society’s example. It’s organized an online MeetUp where tenants, landlords, and solar experts can discuss the pros and cons of installing panels on apartments.
What If the Landlord Won’t Budge on Apartment Solar Panels?
Ultimately, it’s the property manager’s decision. Only he or she can authorize solar installations on the roof or grounds.
But if your landlord doesn’t budge, you still have options.
Many tenants install solar kits on their balconies or windows. Although these installations are considerably smaller than rooftop systems, you can still enjoy lower monthly bills and a smaller carbon footprint.
To learn more about solar installations on rental properties — or to request a free solar appraisal — contact us today.