Are you considering installing solar panels but don’t want to spend too much? Solar leasing is an option for you. It provides the opportunity to use clean energy without a large upfront investment. But is it worth it?
This blog post will explore the pros and cons of solar leasing so you can decide if this renewable energy fits you.
- Solar leasing is an excellent option for those who want access to solar energy without the large upfront cost and long-term commitment. They’ll also receive the benefits of lower electric bills thanks to the leased solar panels.
- If you have the financial means and want more control over your solar system, then buying may be a better option. You’ll need to pay the upfront costs, but you will also benefit from the increased home value and lower monthly bills.
- Ultimately, you need to consider your individual needs and decide whether leasing or buying solar panels is better for you. Be sure to read through any contracts carefully and watch out for hidden costs and fees.
What Is Solar Leasing, and How Does It Work?
Solar leasing is a financing option for homeowners that gives you access to solar energy without the considerable upfront installation cost. It typically involves a contract with a third-party solar leasing company that pays for the panels and solar battery, installation, and maintenance of the system.
In exchange, you agree to pay a monthly lease fee for the duration of the agreement, typically around 20 years. This lets you go solar without spending thousands of dollars upfront, allowing you to get the clean energy the system produces while reducing your initial utility bill.
There’s another variation of solar leasing called a solar power purchase agreement. The solar PPA model is when a company does a solar installation on someone’s property for free. Then, they sell the solar system’s power back to the customer at lower utility rates, saving them on energy bills.
At the end of a solar PPA lease, the person who owns the property can extend the contract or even buy the energy system from the solar developer.
There’s also another model called solar loans. This is when a person takes out a loan to finance the cost of their solar energy system. The borrower typically makes monthly payments back to the lender with a fixed interest rate.
At the end of the loan, they own their solar production system outright and reap all of the benefits that come with it. However, they do have to pay the upfront cost of installation to the utility company, which can be higher than in a solar lease.
The Pros and Cons of Solar Leasing
- No upfront cost – Solar leasing allows you to get the benefits of solar power without the high upfront installation cost, which will also benefit you long-term in the form of lowered electric bills.
- Low maintenance – The solar lease contract typically includes maintenance and servicing of the system, so you won’t have to worry about upkeep.
- Federal Solar Tax Credit – The “Inflation Reduction Act” rewards those installing solar photovoltaic panels with a 30% Solar Tax Credit.
- Limited control – You cannot change the system with a solar lease. You’ll be stuck with whatever design the leasing company sets up and must contact them if there are issues.
- Long-term commitment – Depending on the terms of your contract, you may be legally bound under the lease terms for around 20 years.
- Hidden costs – Be sure to read your agreement carefully and watch out for hidden fees on your lease payments.
So Should I Buy or Lease?
Leasing solar panels is perfect if you want access to solar energy without large upfront costs or a down payment. You also don’t need to worry about the maintenance or servicing of the system, either, since that’s typically included in the lease agreement.
Plus, leased solar panels save money on your monthly energy bills because they produce their own energy. Generally, leasing might be right for you if you cannot afford the upfront cost, are fine with less control over your solar system, and don’t have long-term commitment plans.
However, the downside is that you can’t change the system and might be stuck with the leasing agreement for roughly 20 years. So read your contract carefully and watch out for hidden fees. Also, you want to be aware of “price escalators.” These are built into many solar leasing contracts, which means you may pay more for the same energy produced over time.
If you want to purchase solar panels, it could be a good idea if you have enough money upfront and are willing to commit to the long term. You will have more control over your solar panel system and make changes whenever necessary.
Plus, after the initial purchase cost, your monthly payments will be lower as the panels produce their own energy, and your home’s market value will also increase. This will grow the number of any interested home buyers and make it easier for you to get a new owner to buy your home for more money. So if you have enough long-term savings and want more control over your solar system, then buying might be the right choice.
But the downside is you’ll have to pay for all of the maintenance and servicing of the system yourself. So there will be no professional solar system monitoring or servicing. Additionally, you’ll need to manage the solar panels for their entire lifespan. Ultimately, buying solar might be right for someone who wants more control over their solar system and is willing to commit for the long term.