SolarPoweredApartmentFilter: Still no cost effective non-permanent solar installation for my balcony?
March 27, 2012 1:15 PM   Subscribe

SolarPowerFilter2012: Is there a currently available somewhat affordable solar power rig of any worthwhile kind I could use to take advantage of my westerly facing, blasted-by-the-sun-for-7+-hours-a-day-rented-apartment balcony?

This will likely be the last year I will be living in my current 3rd floor apartment in Austin, and the amount of sun the place gets is (still) ridiculous. The a/c fights half the year to keep it reasonable in there, and the bills get crazy. Talks with the uber-landlord have not been particularly useful in terms of the limited things they might do (solar screens, better insulated windows). So that being said, I'd like to offset my power cost if it's at all worth bothering. Seems like there's got to be SOMething besides those little backpacks that are available now, that would do the trick.

And yeah, I can't make a permanent installation since I'm just a lowly temporary renter.

I think I asked this question before, but was answered with "sorry, nothing that scales cost-effectively yet for your tiny, temporary-apartment needs".

Thanks mefiters!
posted by bitterkitten to Technology (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
The answer will be the same. Solar is still a somewhat long-term investment. Short of making some solar tea or s'mores, there isn't too much you could do that would give you much of a ROI for your short time left living there.
posted by bondcliff at 1:49 PM on March 27, 2012

Fill the window with potted plants. That way you can have solar-powered air purification and/or a solar-powered herb garden, if nothing else.
posted by dr. boludo at 2:35 PM on March 27, 2012 [1 favorite]

My local Ace Hardware recently had a product on display that was basically a single 2' x 4' ish solar panel and some electronics in a kit that's basically what you have in mind. Output was modest - I don't remember numbers, but vastly less than required to run an A/C unit, I'm sure.

I thought it was a pretty neat idea, until I saw that the price tag was in the neighborhood of $1400. I just don't see it paying off until you have your own place, or the technology gets way cheaper, or both. Sorry.
posted by richyoung at 3:41 PM on March 27, 2012

Yep, answer's still the same- even if efficiencies were way up and costs were way down, you wouldn't have enough area available to make a difference.
posted by drhydro at 10:41 PM on March 27, 2012

forgive my ignorance of previous questionings, but have you looked into rigs designed for rvs?
posted by Rube R. Nekker at 10:54 PM on March 27, 2012

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