Had someone asked this question a few years back, we would have said: No, really sorry about that.

But no longer. Today, even if you do not own a rooftop (say, you live in a rented apartment), you can own a solar power plant, though only in select regions.
How is this possible?
Through two avenues:

  • Community Solar
  • Cloud Solar

Community Solar

Through the concept of community solar, where many members of a community (a village, an apartment of houses, a small township) invests in a solar power plant that is installed at a common place close to the community, today, even those without their own rooftop over their heads can own a (part) of a solar power plant. Note however that community solar as a concept is functional only in a few countries currently.
Community solar is already picking up pace in various states of U.S.A since there are state-level policies that encourages community solar. One can think of it as a cooperative society for solar energy.

Cloud Solar

A concept based on cloud computing is also picking up, where you can own your solar power plant on someone else’s roof who is willing to share a part of it for you. A few start up companies based in the U.S are currently exploring this idea.

In this context, the subscribers won’t be able to power their own house with the electricity generated. Instead they are given the benefits of solar power installed on someone else’s rooftop, for which the subscribers pay a pre-determined fee.

The Cloud Solar concept is even more nascent as of 2015 than community solar, though quite exciting we must add.

Now, outside of rooftop power plants, what could be another option?

If your rooftop is not suitable for a solar power plant due to space constraints, you can look at having ground mounted structures to harvest sun’s energy, provided your property has the area for it. Ground mounted structures come with a few advantages over their rooftop counterparts. Instead of depending on the pitch and orientation of the roof, a ground mount system can be installed to capture as much sunlight as possible to maximize electrical output .Also, when going for ground mounted structures, one wouldn’t have to worry about interfering with the existing structure.

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