Going Solar: Making Renewable Energy Accessible for Condo Owners. What do you think when you hear solar panels? Most people would think rooftop installations are brought by homeowners. You’ll be surprised to know that two-thirds of Americans cannot install solar in their homes. Community solar is a more popular choice, which makes this renewable energy source more accessible to many people, including condominium (condo) owners and renters.
As a condo owner, there might be situations where you won’t be able to access community solar and circumstances where you will be able to install solar on your roof. This article will guide you on community and home solar and how they can work for your condo.
Community solar can be any solar project that serves businesses, families, or groups of people. Community solar subscribers usually lease or buy a portion of the project and get credit on their electric bills for the electricity generated from their share. This process is called virtual net metering. A solar community project can save you 5-15% per year on electricity bills. This is a good investment for people who can’t install solar on their properties.
Solar For Condo Owners
Condos are privately owned apartments or units in a set of buildings or a larger building. Most expenses and amenities are shared in condos. This includes roofs, fitness centers, and green spaces. The payment is given to the homeowners association (HOA) for the maintenance of these common spaces. The HOA also dictates the rules and sets specific aesthetic features of the condominium.
Owning a home means you’ll have only one electric meter and have to pay for your electricity consumption. On the other hand, since condos are shared units, the electric bill also comes under HOA fees. This is why you can’t install solar on your property or through an off-site community solar project.
Due to the complexity of rules and regulations in a condo, most people don’t go for installing solar on their property. As with other shared spaces, the roof is common to all owners. Sometimes, you might own the roof of your condo or a portion of it. Then you can install a solar system.
If you live in a new condo, solar would be installed, and the electricity generated would be shared among the residents. If the electric meter is shared, this will show up in the collective electric bill. With separate electric meters, you can power common areas like hallways or the gym with a solar system. Whatever the case may be, the whole building benefits from solar.
You are exempted from consulting with your HOA if your condo has its electric meter. In this case, you can install solar without any permission. However, with multiple condo units, your HOA will need approval. You’ll receive two electricity bills if you sign up for a solar community project.
One will be from the community solar provider and the other from the utility company. You can also escape paying the bill yourself by convincing all members of the HOA to sign up for community solar; that bill will be a part of the HOA fees. This bill will be lower than the one you would’ve had to pay yourself.
Community Solar vs. Home Solar
Before deciding on one of the options to go solar, you should consider the pros and cons of home solar and community solar so that you can make a sound decision. The table below will summarize that:
Going Solar Shared Shared Electric HOA Upfront Savings Ease Of
By Roof Meter Input Investment Going Solar
Home solar Yes Yes Yes Yes $$$ Not easy
Home solar Yes No Yes Yes $$$ Not easy
Home solar No No Possibly no Yes $$$$ Fairly easy
Community solar N/A Yes Yes No $ Fairly easy
Community solar N/A No Likely no No $ Easy
Ultimately, it’s your choice to decide which option you want to go with, depending on your situation.
Going Solar: The Final Frontier for Condo Owners
In conclusion, going solar is an exciting opportunity for condo owners to embrace renewable energy, reduce their carbon footprint, and save money on their electricity bills. Whether it’s through community solar or home solar, there are several options available for condo owners to benefit from the power of the sun. It is essential to weigh the pros and cons of both options, including the cost, the ease of installation, and the regulations set by the homeowner’s association. Ultimately, the choice is yours, and with the right guidance, you can go solar and take a step towards a sustainable future.