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Condo’s are a great option for those wanting to delve into home ownership for the first time. Despite being the owner, living in a condo often doesn’t include all of the freedom that living in a single-family home can provide unfortunately. Making building modifications like moving walls, installing skylights, and other structurally altering modifications are generally prohibited by the HOA. Installing a permanent solar power array on the roof of your condo very well may be one of those prohibited modifications. This doesn’t mean, however, that you can’t enjoy some or all of the benefits of solar power generation. For many condo owners it may be impossible to convince your HOA to approve a permanently attached solar power system, however, condo owners can still benefit from the environmental and money-saving benefits of solar power thanks to a few resourceful hacks.
Purchase Your Own Solar Panels
There are a number of different types of solar panels that can make a dent in your power bill by supplementing your home’s electricity needs. Some, such as small portable panels that run off of batteries, can be easily hooked up throughout your house. Best of all, the smaller panels are easy to remove when you’re ready to move away and will keep your HOA happy.
Small panels can be bought fully assembled or in individual pieces. And almost anyone can install a panel themselves – saving the renter hundreds of dollars not only in electricity bills, but in installation fees as well. The smaller panels can produce enough energy to run small appliances within the home. Many systems can include solar charged batteries to continue to power your belongings after the sun sets. One of the more popular solar solution is setting a small portable solar panel with a battery in your window or balcony to charge your smart phone overnight.
For those looking for a panel that will make a larger impact on their electricity bills, consider a plug-in-play solar panel. These solar panels are larger and provide your home with electricity by plugging directly into a power outlet. Similar to smaller panels, moving larger plug-in panels is as easy as unplugging and moving them around. As an added bonus, plug-and-play solar panels are usually modular, so multiple panels can be combined together to multiply your solar power savings. The best part: these kits are eligible for federal tax credits too!
Join a Community Solar Project
Community Solar Projects, solar farms, and solar gardens are popping up everywhere. These community projects make it possible for renters to benefit from solar power without actually installing solar panels on your condo or townhome. In solar communities, you can invest in the install of solar panels in a space away from your home. You will then receive credit on your power bill for the electricity generated through the solar panels by the project remotely.
CInvesting in a solar community is a great option for condo-owners whose HOA is strictly opposed to an installation. By installing the panels in a separate location, you do not need permission from anyone and you don’t have to worry about removing them when you move.
If you Can, Get Solar Panels Professionally Installed
Condo-owners who want to entirely eliminate their electric bill will require stronger panels. In these cases, it might be best to invest in having full sized panels professionally installed (with the permission of the HOA of course). Although getting panels installed may not be the easiest task, your electricity bills and the environment will thank you.
In order to get solar panels professionally installed, you will need your HOA’s permission and cooperation. Some HOA’s may require you to agree to remove the solar panels and fix the roof when you move. You must also keep in mind that having the panels installed will involve a larger financial investment. However, you will be able to claim the solar power financial benefits, including the federal tax credits, and you can take the solar panels with you to your next home!
Typically, condo-owners who install a solar power system on their home plan to live in the same condo or townhome for several years. This makes the initial cost of installation a better financial decision and ensures they get the most return on their solar power system investment.
Sadly, some HOA’s may still oppose installing solar panels on their properties. They also may try to charge you fees for installation and “repairs to the house” when you move depending on your state laws. If this is the case for you, consider purchasing ground-mount solar panels to place in your backyard on a ground-mounting structure. This is a solid option for condo-owners in a bind, as you can simply pull-up the panels and go when it’s time to move. Keep in mind that ground-mounted systems may not get as much sun as roof-mounted systems and may produce less electricity as a result.
This is a long shot for many, but, it is possible to find condos or townhomes that already have solar power installed. If you’re able to find these options, lots of energy savings are possible with solar power. Plus, you can enjoy clean, carbon-emission free electricity for your home.
While it may seem like condo-owners do not have the same options as homeowners, condo dwellers can still enjoy the benefits of solar power. Whether you’re buying and installing small solar panels, joining a solar community project, or working with your HOA to go solar, you can have the same opportunities to enjoy solar power savings and the environmental benefits.