non permanent solar system

Hi i am living in a rented house that the person said if i can have a system that dos'nt permanently change the current standard electrical setup i can so i would like to make a solar system to power like my central air and washer/dryer along with a few other things but im not trying to power the whole house. Is there any way i can like use the breaker box or does anyone have any recommendations on how to do a fairly clean looking system that i can take with me when i leave in a few years?


  • CariboocootCariboocoot Banned Posts: 17,615 ✭✭
    Re: non permanent solar system

    Welcome to the forum.

    Now here's some advice you probably weren't expecting: forgetaboutit. :p

    Or, re-align your plans.

    Here's why:

    The things you mention wanting to run: central air, washer, dryer. All seriously big power users. A system capable of powering them (or offsetting the power they use as in a grid-tie arrangement) would be pretty expensive and far from portable. Such a system probably could power the whole house, as those loads are about the biggest you could expect save electric heater/hot water.

    Usually when you have grid you want grid-tie. There's no cheap, easy, portable way of doing it: everything has to be permanently installed with permits and inspections.

    So let's look at it from a different perspective. When you take this system with you, where will it go? Off-grid? Camping? To another grid-fed house? Systems tend not to be very adaptable; they are highly site-specific. The other matter is: what are your end goals? If you want to install solar to save on your electric bill, be forewarned of the false economy of such reasoning. Almost always the utility power is cheaper per kWh than any form of solar-electric.

    Now if you want to build a small, portable solar-electric set-up to learn about how it works and have some fun, that is another matter. It's not too difficult to put together a small system that can be moved around and could reasonably be expected to power something like a TV/entertainment system, computer, lights ... et cetera.

    Always remember the renter's golden rule: never invest your money in someone else's property. ;)
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 32,026 admin
    Re: non permanent solar system

    Is this Grid Tied or a Battery Backed system?

    Also, you have mentioned some of the heaviest users of electricity... About the only thing you left out is an electric water heater and electric stove.

    In general, a Grid Tied system has to be permanently installed per building code.

    And off grid system, with no permits, could be built without meeting code--but even to connect your A/C other systems would require you to wire into the dwelling--which would then (in most areas) require you to meet code anyway.

    Frankly, probably 1/2 the cost of solar GT system is installation/labor/permit costs. And you would have to add removing and putting the dwelling back to original condition--which would add more costs.

    Our first recommendation is always Conservation. Figure out where your electricity costs are and look at reducing usage first. Unfortunately for you, most of those costs are going to be plowed back into the building (A/C, Hot Water, Insulation, Double Pane Windows, etc.

    And if you use a lot of A/C, or have an older/inefficient A/C system, then any other power reduction (such as turning off DVR's, going to laptop computers, etc.) is probably not going to save you that much money.

    Unfortunately, unless you have some deal with the owner (you do labor, he provides material or something like that)--It is probably not worth your money to do too much in the way of conservation/solar PV system work.

    Much of the costs are going to have a 2-10 year (or even longer) payback cost--You simply are not going to be there long enough to do more than insulate windows (drapes, Styrofoam inserts), weather strip, and installing a set back timer for the A/C system unless you can convince the owner of the unit to fund some of this work too (i.e., old A/C system upgrade, changing out an electric water heater to a heat pump based unit, and other such things).


    PS: Here is a good thread with lots of links to DIY projects.

    It may give you some good ideas.
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • rollandelliottrollandelliott Solar Expert Posts: 834 ✭✭
    Re: non permanent solar system

    save your money to buy your own home
    when you buy your own home then you can invest in solar.
  • nielniel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: non permanent solar system
    save your money to buy your own home
    when you buy your own home then you can invest in solar.

    in a nutshell i agree with that statement and i also agree with the previous comments that were made. this would be a large installation that i'm sure your landlord would love to own as it would become a fixture of his property and you would lose your investment for when you move. buying your property and home first would allow you to gain access to the latest and newer equipment out there later on. prices may or may not continue to drop when you are ready for your leap, but i doubt you'll see any huge jumps in price, at least on the pvs.

    this wait also affords you the opportunity to become more familiar with solar and what is involved in it and can lead to a system for yourself more apt to suit you and your needs. read to your heart's content as time is on your side.
Sign In or Register to comment.