How to Add Solar Panels to a Rental Property

by Elizabeth Smith, Demand Media
    Freestanding solar panels can be a useful solution for a rental property.

    Freestanding solar panels can be a useful solution for a rental property.

    Solar panels harness the power of the sun to produce electricity without releasing harmful emissions into the environment. By using solar panels, you can save money on power bills. Because the nature of a rental property is temporary, seek solar panels that can be removed in the future or that do not require altering the house, or resign yourself to leaving your installation behind when and if you move.

    Step 1

    Talk to a solar contractor about costs and technical specifications for installing removable solar panels. Based on your location and budget, the contractor will be able to recommend a size and type. Ask him about both standalone units and units that can connect to the power grid. According to Energy Savers, you can customize a unit based on the size of your home and the amount of power you need. (see References 1)

    Step 2

    Request written permission from your landlord to maintain goodwill and provide legal protection. The Georgia Department of Community Affairs recommends that you secure specific written permission before making any alterations to the property and that you read your lease carefully; some leases specify that any changes you make become part of the property. (see References 2) Solar panels are not something you can hide easily, and it is better to talk to your landlord in advance to let him know what you are planning. Send a written request and include details about the size of the panels, whether they will be installed on the roof or in the yard and the amount of time it will take. Mention any structural modifications you will need to make or if you plan to connect into the residential grid. Ask for written permission that allows you to remove the panels when you end the rental agreement. Keep all documents for your records.

    Step 3

    Choose the type of solar panel setup that works best for your situation. The roof usually gets the most direct sunlight, which will help generate more power. If you cannot mount panels onto the roof, look into a standalone system for the yard. Select a section of the yard that gets the most sunlight during the day. (see References 1)

    Step 4

    Hire a professional to install the solar panels. According to Energy Savers, doing so will help ensure effective performance. (see References 3) The investment will allow a smooth installation and save you time and energy down the line. Depending on the type and complexity of your solar panel system, you may need to hire someone to remove and reinstall the panels if you move.

    Step 5

    Consider using smaller-scale solar panels to power outdoor electronics. If larger solar units will not work in your home, look into small stand-alone units, which are useful for outdoor applications like lighting and irrigation. Smaller panels can be installed without structural modifications to the rental home. (see References 4)

    About the Author

    Elizabeth Smith has been a scientific and engineering writer since 2004. Her work has appeared in numerous journals, newspapers and corporate publications. A frequent traveler, she also has penned articles as a travel writer. Smith has a Bachelor of Arts in communications and writing from Michigan State University.

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