Currently, to take advantage of solar energy, you must be a homeowner. Some landlords have taken steps to install PV panels on their rental properties, but that is far less common than many renters would like. This topic often brings many potential solar for renters and customers to come to us with questions regarding their rental property and solar opportunities. In this article, we discuss the bad, the good and the opportunity.
The bad news is, you cannot purchase, lease or contract a PPA to install a solar system for your rental home. Even with extenuating circumstances with a landlord’s approval, obtaining financing and being able to take advantage of the 30% tax credit is a pipe-dream for the renter. And honestly, if you are just renting a home, investing in something that is permanent and pricey, might mean you do not ever see the return on your investment. Although you may be feeding into supporting green energy, you will probably not be able to take advantage of the financial benefits.
The Good: Increased Property Value
The good news is that more landlords are sitting down with their tenants in both single-family and multi-family units to talk about solar. As a renter, you already know the advantages of renting a home with solar panels. However, many landlords are happy to sit down with you and an Energy Adviser to learn how solar panels offer value to their property. Many studies in CA show that properties with solar panels have increased property values. This is great news for their investment. Second, work with your landlord on the cost of finance. Perhaps you can propose instead of paying your utility bills, you send them the payment. Therefore you are paying off the cost of the solar panels instead of just reaping the benefits of a zero-cost electricity bill. With you footing the cost, the risk in investment reduces quite radically.
If your landlord is still not convinced that solar panels are the right choice for their investment rental properties, many new community solar projects are popping up throughout California. Community solar projects are often referred to as Solar Farms or Community Solar. These projects provide homeowners, renters, and businesses equal access to the economic and environmental benefits of solar energy, regardless of the physical attributes of a building or ownership of a home or business. Community solar allows you to access solar when you might otherwise not be able to. When you are part of community solar project, you subscribe – as a member, and receive credit on your electricity bill for your share of the power that is produced. There are not solar farms in our immediate area. However, this is an expansive and well sought-out program that is taking California by storm. That means if you do not have access to solar yet, there is truly hope on the way.
Now is an exceptional time to go solar. Reach out to a local, licensed installer who will answer your questions and give you an honest quote.