Plug-In Solar: Moveable Solar Power For Renters and Do-It-Yourselfers

The promise of plug-in solar panels that simplify solar power installation to the point that nearly any do-it-yourselfer can handle the job has been a long time coming


We are pleased to welcome a new writer to Green Building Elements, David Arthur. The information he provides here about SpinRay Energy is exciting, especially  for anybody looking for a simpler, less expensive way of  bringing solar electricity into their dwelling.

A small company, SpinRay Energy, has announced the production of a new UL listed, grid-tied solar power system that couldn’t be easier to install. Plug-in solar power equipment may be a game changer in the arena of small residential solar power.

Rapidly falling prices of solar electricity equipment mean that the most costly part of installing residential solar power systems will soon be system design and installation.

A new line of plug-in solar power equipment made by SpinRay Energy of Rhode Island can be installed by plugging the on-board microinverter into a 110 volt or 220 volt power outlet.

Up to five of the 240-watt plug-in solar panels can also be linked together to create a larger array, all feeding into a common electrical outlet.

Plug-In Solar Power – Even For Renters

A Do-It-Yourself approach to residential solar installation opens up the possibilities of grid-tied solar energy projects for people who may not plan to stay in their current homes for the long term.

Many people who have been interested in alternative energy have assumed that solar was not for them as they did not intend to live in their current locations for a long enough period for an alternative energy project to ever pay for their investment.

Others, who would love to enjoy the savings and environmental benefits of producing some of their own electricity, have not seriously considered a project because they live in a rental home or apartment.
Now it is possible to own a modestly priced, plug and play solar power system that can be set up by a homeowner in a matter of minutes, and can be easily relocated to another property if desired.

Solar Electricity For Apartments

My favorite of the SpinRay Energy products is the deck-mount plug and play solar power package. This simplified system is modular, plugs together, utilizes a simple 110-volt outlet, and can be mounted to a regular deck rail. Should the owner move, the system is completely modular and can be easily moved with the family.

Affordable Solar

SpinRay does recommend that a dedicated electrical circuit be used for the units, and that a weatherproof outdoor plug cover, and arc-fault circuit interrupter installed, which may require the expertise of a certified electrician.

As always, if you are not completely comfortable working with electricity, consult the advice of a qualified electrician. Also, always comply with local codes, rules and installation requirements.

About The Author: David M. Arthur is a LEED-AP and energy auditor. David is the driving force behind GreenHomesConsultant

Photo: SpinRay Energy 

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  • Yup this stuff is awesome!
    I’ve noticed a larger emphasis on greener energy lately which is fantastic. The equipment is slowly becoming more affordable and advancements in technology should push us towards greener energy faster. Hopefully we won’t be so dependent on large energy corporations either.

    If anyone’s interested, this site has some great stuff on DIY Solar and wind kits as well as solar products (pre-made panels, chargers etc.):

  • If the Utility finds out people are plugging these things in without getting permission from them, the Utility will pull the customer’s meter and stop service. The people buying these devices must be made aware that the Utility has a special process for interconnected generating systems. Also while the components that this company are using are UL listed, they are not UL listed for the manner that they are being applied. The normal three prong plug they have connected to the micro-inverter is not really designed to interrupt load current when the power is going into the wall socket instead of out of the wall socket. The wall socket itself is also not UL listed for being reversed fed. This is where DIY products can get people into trouble or even worst hurt.

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  • Mr. Turczynski,

    Thank you for your thoughtful response to this post. Your professional perspective as an engineer is certainly appreciated and you bring up excellent points of concern.

    I am not an engineer or electrician, but your arguments against such a solar connection arrangement are convincing. Interestingly, this is but one of a handful of small-scale alternative energy generation products I found that are currently available which use like or similar connection methods.

    The SpinRay Energy specification documents for these devices only address NEC requirements for a continuous-duty weatherproof connection box and an AFCI breaker. I’ve contacted SpinRay Energy regarding your concerns and will update this page with any response I receive.

    In the meantime, as the above post warns, “…always comply with local codes, rules and installation requirements.” I should clarify that this list should specifically include the rules, permitting, and connection requirements of a homeowner’s local utility company.

    The utility has the final authority on what equipment may be connected to their system and how that connection is to be accomplished. A utility may also have specific insurance requirements to protect them should damage occur to either the utility equipment or the homeowner’s generation system.

    Thank you again,
    David Arthur

  • Sad that people are being lured into this. For half this price you can buy a panels, small charge controller and grid tie inverter to generate twice the power. And it’s as easy as setting up a WII game station. We know people can figure that out.

  • This new development in solar power industry is fantastic! I love this stuff because it is very convenient to use. I’m glad that more companies are going into the greener side. I am hoping for more developments in this field.

  • This sure is a great improvement to solar power! Having this kind of feature would surely encourage people to use it because it is now user-friendly.

  • thanks for the idea

  • I blog quite often and I seriously thank you for your content.
    The article has really peaked my interest. I am going to take a note of your blog and keep checking for new details about once per week.
    I subscribed to your Feed as well.

  • Pman

    These things may sound nice and simple, but there is definitely a potential hazard hooking them up without permits and through a standard household outlet. Most people don’t understand the hazards and don’t care until its too late. With the current popularity of solar, people are going to start getting zapped, this even with permits and inspection, but much more-so without.


    Looks very promising if they can keep the price in reach of medium income families.

  • John

    Unfortunately renters don’t get the 30% federal tax credit, but they may qualify for state incentives. More info here:

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