Solar Power For Apartments

Solar Apartment Ideas

Much of the population of the United States lives in houses, but there is also a very large percentage of the population who live in apartments as well.  Millions of people actually live in apartments or apartment buildings all over the US.  Usually, the electricity needs and consumption for people who live in apartments is typically less than people who live in houses.  There are several reasons for this, and this is actually a positive feature of apartment living.  When it comes down to living a sustainable future in an apartment, there is sometimes few options for solar panels and producing your own electricity.

Some of the newest apartments to be built in cities like New Orleans and Los Angeles and San Francisco are focusing on solar power to help keep utility company generated electricity consumption low.  This is one of the most progressive ways of thinking, and it looks to be very successful so far.  The common apartment building which is located in an urban area or big city, is often open to direct sunlight all day long.  This is not always the case, but often it is.  Also, newly built apartments are not going to be in need of roof repairs for a very long time.  This is also a very positive thing for solar power.  And most importantly, newly constructed apartments are going to be around for many years.  That is exactly what solar panels like.  They have a very long lifespan, and need to be sitting on a roof that will exist for a long time too.

Benefits of Solar Power for Apartments

  1. Apartment owners can sell the electricity to their tenants
  2. Tenants can make use of clean energy
  3. Property value of the apartments increases with solar power
  4. Apartment owners can make use of solar tax credits
  5. Electricity costs can be hedged with solar panels

Negative Aspects of Solar Power for Apartments

  1. Difficult to figure out how to divide construction costs
  2. Certain solar incentives and rebates might not be available to apartment owners
  3. A direct feed of the solar electricity to the electric panel is sometimes difficult
  4. Cleaning of the solar panels is sometimes not accessible

Solar Power for Public Housing Aparment Buildings

One of the most impressive new initiatives is the growth in solar power for public housing apartment buildings all over the United States.  This is an excellent program for several reasons.  One of those reasons has to do with educating the lower class about the importance of renewable energy sources.  Without educating people about how solar power and renewable energy works, it would be an even harder uphill battle to make real changes around the world.  The second big benefit for placing solar panel systems on public housing is all about the investment.  Sometimes local and state and federal governments just don’t know where to spend their money.  With a solar system, the benefits of clean energy production will last for over 25 years in most cases.  And, there are very little maintenance costs associated with solar energy.  So, by installing solar panels on these apartment buildings, and offering low income people solar, it should be looked at as money well spent.

Below are two pictures of solar panels on apartment buildings:

urban solar panels

solar panel apartment building

PV solar apartment buildings

PV solar panels on an apartment

9 Responses to “Solar Power For Apartments”

  1. cortez moore says:

    I am looking at rehabbing a older apartment complex. Do you have anytips for adding solar power into the financing, and selling the excess power generated to the utility companies?

  2. SolarGuru says:

    Hey Cortez,
    Thanks for your question. It is going to depend on quite a bit of variables: 1) Are you hoping to generate solar power to cover the individual tenant’s electricity use? Or the building owner’s electric bill? As for adding solar into the financing, that is something that most building owners end up doing. Taking out a loan on the solar, and combining that with the rebates and tax credits that you may be eligible for is a great idea, and usually necessary for the project to make financial sense. You can depreciate the solar system as well. Selling the excess power back to the utility company is not that big of a deal, and is usually handled automatically with Grid-Tied-PV Systems. My suggestion would be to contact a local solar installer who has experience with larger commercial solar projects, and then ask for references to follow up with before spending any money. Also, you want to understand in writing EXACTLY what you will be eligible for in terms of rebates/tax credits etc… BEFORE you spend any money on solar. that’s super importante!

  3. Femi says:

    I am looking at generating solar power to cover the individual tenant’s electricity use. I’ve been trying to figure out how to bill the tenants, Would have loved something automated. Any idea how to go about this??

  4. SolarGuru says:

    Hey Femi,
    Do the tenants have separate electric meters? Or are they all connected to the same one? Let me know the answer to that and I’ll have a much better idea on how to answer your question.

  5. Enrique says:

    I own and manage several HUD subsidized Seccion 8 buildings in Puerto Rico, all tax credit (LIHTC). At this moment, I am getting ready to refinance and remodel a 127 apt, 13 story. Each apt has an individual meter and we pay for the consumption in the common areas, hallways, administration offices, onsite maintenance crew shop, elevators etc. I am considering installing solar panels in the roof, to power at the very least, the common areas, thus reducing my operating costs.

    I need information on, similar projects, Power Purchase Agreements, renewable energy tax credits etc. if I may add, the corporations that own these buildings were created in the US in order to obtain federal Low Income Tax Credits.

    Any information that can help me decide whether this is financially sound investment will be appreciated. I need direction.


  6. SolarGuru says:

    Hey Enrique,
    The first question I would have is about your current electricity prices for the common area. If you look at your most recent bill, what was the total cost of the electricity, and what was the total amount of kilo watt hours(kwh) used for that amount of electricity? Once I had a better understanding of that figure, it will be much easier to answer your overall question. thx!

  7. New_to_solar says:

    Good article. We own an older apartment complex in OR and are also looking into how to cover the individual units electricity needs with solar (or at least most of the needs) and then bill the tenants. The units have their own meters. Would love to hear more about ideas on how to do this

  8. Ruth says:

    I have a question. I live in an apartment bldg in CA. My apartment is on ground level and my patio catches the morning sun and has no obstructions. Could I place something small on my patio to catch the solar energy and use it for my own electricity like some RV’s do?

  9. SolarGuru says:

    Hi Ruth,
    Great to hear form you. That is a possibility, but it would be best to have solar panels which can catch the sun the entire day. Maybe you could talk with whomever manages the apartment building, and find out if there is a possibility you could mount a small solar system on the roof and attach the system to your metered electricity meter. That would be my best suggestion, and the one which would probably make the most financial sense if you are also the owner of the apartment.


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