City-dwellers living in shoebox-sized apartments might think that using solar power is impossible, or it simply doesn’t apply to their lifestyle. Thankfully, this is incorrect.
Although on a smaller scale, there are ample ways people can use renewable energy despite living in a big city—both inside and outside of their units. Here are a few examples of ways tenants can enjoy the benefits of solar power:
Portable Solar Units
Your apartment is likely too tiny to accommodate for those giant solar panels you so often see on the rooves of full-sized houses. The best alternative: mini, portable solar panels. Although these units don’t provide nearly as much energy as their larger counterparts, they cost about a fraction of the price.
These units, which can range in size from the surface of a laptop to the door of a mini fridge, can be charged on a balcony or through a window, and can help lower the cost of energy in your home. These kits can be used to charge your phone or to provide energy for household appliances and small heating units.
On stormy days, they can easily be stored on a shelf or behind a couch.
Find a Renewable Energy Community
Just because you can’t install a solar system in your own unit doesn’t mean you’re exempt from the benefits of renewable energy.
Renewable energy community projects are a new and evolving thing. Generally, these are owned and run by the community and a third party, and offer participation and sharing of the collective benefits for community members. Find one in your community to get started.
Buy Green Power
This option allows consumers to buy energy units, commonly solar, wind, or hydro from renewable energy plants.
Although this is not the most cost-effective option, and one not all units are compatible with, consumers can rest easy knowing their energy is coming from a healthy, ecologically-friendly place.
Consider the Roof
Who owns the roof of your building? Is it flat or steep? These are questions you may want to consider if you are serious about tapping into solar power.
If you live in a unit with small windows, or without a balcony, your roof is the next best bet.
Although the initial installation fee may be hefty, the benefits of a solar panel-covered roof are massive. Tenants can reduce their ecological footprint while sharing energy at a low cost with others in the building.
The cost of the system will depend on the size of the desired unit, the overall electrical situation of the building, and the architecture of the house and roof.