Measuring solar panels for apartments.


More renters than ever are taking a keen interest in clean energy. As a result, installing solar panels for apartments has emerged as the preferred way to implement renewable energy. In fact, solar property technology not only slashes energy costs, but it’s also a unique way to attract renters.

Read on to learn how you can install solar panels on your property. Next, explore why implementing solar power is worth it for multifamily buildings. Finally, discover the four best solar project models for apartments.

In this post, we cover:


Can you have solar panels in an apartment?

Yes, you can have solar panels in an apartment.

They’re great for apartments because they’re sustainable and lower monthly utility costs over time. However, shifting your entire property to solar power may seem like a huge undertaking. But solar power proptech is relatively easy to integrate into most multifamily buildings.


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How long do solar panels last?

Solar systems for apartments typically last for over 25 years. However, there is a degradation rate of about 0.5% per year.

Nonetheless, this rate is so low that your solar panels should yield 90% of their original output after 20 years — making them a great long-term investment. So, you can rest assured that your proptech investment will pay off.


Can solar panels provide all my electricity?

Solar panels can provide all the electricity you need to power your building. Keep in mind, however, that multifamily buildings usually need at least 30 solar panels. The number you’ll need depends on your property’s square footage.


Solar panels for a large apartment complex.


How to install solar panels in an apartment

Installing solar panels at a multifamily building is as simple as hiring a team of certified installers to mount them on the roof. So, achieving a solar-powered apartment complex is not as difficult as it initially seems!


Can I install solar panels myself?

Yes, you can install solar panels yourself if you’re familiar with assembling parts and driving bolts. Expect to spend a day or two on your roof if you carry out the installation process in-house.


Discover what a sustainable building is and how to implement one:


Are solar panels worth it for apartments?

If your goal is to become a more sustainable building and reduce your carbon footprint, then installing solar panels in your apartment is worth it. However, there are several pros and cons to weigh before making a decision.


Pros of solar panels for apartments:

  • Cost-effective. Solar systems for apartments offer a great ROI (return on investment). Not only are solar panels cheaper than traditional power alternatives, but there are also valuable tax incentives. For example, when you install solar panels, you can take advantage of federal solar tax credits and net metering credits for surplus energy.
  • Reduce energy bills. Solar power for apartments dramatically reduces energy bills, which is a great selling point for residents.
  • Sell surplus energy. If you live in a sunny area, your solar panels may generate more energy than your residents can use. In this case, you can sell the excess energy to your local power company.
  • Attract new residents. Young renters are interested in sustainable properties. In fact, it’s one of the top amenities that appeal to millennials and Gen Z prospects. So, utilizing clean energy will incentivize more prospects to apply for vacant units at your building.
  • Low-maintenance. Solar panels only need to be cleared of debris and cleaned once a year. This usually costs anywhere from $150 to $330.


Workers measuring solar panels for apartments.


Cons of solar panels for apartments:

  • Must be in an ideal location. Installing solar panels may not be worth it if your property is in a shady area that doesn’t get much sun exposure.
  • No tax benefits. Some states don’t offer tax incentives for implementing solar power.
  • Costly to install. Solar panels for apartments cost between $20,000 to $50,000. This depends on the size of the system, panel type, wattage, and location.
  • Residents may still have to pay for energy. If your building isn’t producing enough solar energy to power the building, residents might still have to pay an energy bill. Residents may consider this a con if they also have to pay for a rent increase to help cover the cost of installing a complete solar power system.


Does solar add rent value?

Yes, solar panels add rent value by reducing energy costs and making your property more desirable to prospective renters. Conduct a local rental market analysis to estimate the additional value your building will incur after installing a solar power system.

With this in mind, consider if your state offers tax incentives for installing solar and if your building is located in a bright, sunny location for the best energy yield.


Solar energy for an apartment complex.


4 best solar project models for apartments

Are you wondering how to use solar power in an apartment building?

Here are a few solar project models to consider:

  1. Common area usage
  2. Solar for individual units
  3. Solar thermal system
  4. Community solar project


1. Common area usage

The best solar panels for apartments offset the utility costs for common areas through lighting and heating and cooling (HVAC) systems. This may be achieved by having the entire building master-metered or separately metered.

If you opt for a master meter, the building owner will receive a total bill for each billing period that they can then pass to the residents. Conversely, if you opt for separately metered utilities, tenants will pay the utility company directly.


Group of workers installing solar panels for apartments.


2. Solar for individual units

Identifying the right proptech model for your building can help streamline solar power implementation at your property. In this project model, individual renters opt to buy into a separately-metered solar system. In this case, they’ll be the only ones to benefit from the reduced energy costs over time.


3. Solar thermal system

If your multifamily building has central heating, installing a solar heating system can significantly offset the costs of traditional heating systems.

This model is ideal for cold climates that still receive plenty of sunlight.


Installing a solar power system at an apartment.


4. Community solar project

Community solar allows residents to receive credit on their bills for power produced from their section of the solar panels installed at your property. As a result, utility bills almost always decrease. However, to implement a community solar project, your state must have community solar legislation in place.


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  • Solar panels for apartments reduce energy costs, boost sustainability, and are easy to retrofit into most multifamily buildings.
  • Solar panels are relatively simple to install, so you can opt to hire a professional team or install them in-house.
  • Solar systems for apartments attract new residents, reduce energy bills, and require limited maintenance.
  • Solar systems aren’t ideal for apartment buildings that don’t get much sunlight or in states that don’t provide tax incentives for going solar.
  • The four best solar project models for apartments are for common area usage, individual units, upgrading to a solar thermal system, or implementing a community solar project.


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Tiara Sutton

I’m an Atlanta-based writer who enjoys exploring the ways that tech benefits residents & tenants of multifamily & commercial properties.