Ask Super Earth: Solar For Apartment Living

Spring is in the air and the days are getting longer, which means we’ve got solar fever!

Our New York customer Cody submitted a question to Super Earth about small-scale solar options for his apartment:

My wife and I live in a 1 bedroom apartment in Queens with direct access to sunlight morning-2pm on the east side of the building. We don't plan to buy our own house in the next 5 years and we like the small apartment living. Is there a cheap way we can take our apartment off the grid and convert to solar?

In the age of iPads and other miniature electronic miracles, is there not a solar unit designed for the low wattage, minimalist New York City apartment? I'm imagining something that doesn't plug into our grid necessarily, but provides us a source of energy for running floor lamps, laptops, wifi router and a television at night. If it could run the fridge, great! Otherwise, we'll just keep that hooked up to the Green Mountain supplied grid!

Cody, we’re so thrilled to hear from another solar enthusiast!  While there isn’t a solution to take an apartment completely off the grid via solar power without an infrastructure for your whole building, there are plenty of options that will help you power gadgets and appliances by harnessing the sun’s rays straight from your unit’s window.  Here’s a little sampling we’d recommend:

  • SpinRay Energy produces a plug-in, UL listed, grid-tied solar power system for apartments. The deck-mount plug and play solar power package is modular, utilizes a simple 110-volt outlet, and can be mounted to a regular deck rail. When you move, you can unplug your system and move it with you! It’s the perfect movable solar power for renters and do-it-yourselfers.
  • XDModo offers a sleek solar charger that sticks to the inside of a window, and offers plugs for small USB powered devises.  You can solar charge your iPad, cell phone, and other electronics straight from it.
  • If you’re feeling ambitious and have accessibility to your roof, or you like to go camping, EarthTech sells solar generators for homes and the outdoors.  While a bit pricey, these options would be perfect if you’re interested in spearheading a solar enthusiast club within your building.  Think solar-powered cookouts!

Green Mountain is actively looking at ways to bring the benefits of solar energy to people just like you (apartment dwellers, homes with shaded roofs, etc.), so stay tuned for details soon to come!


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