Monday, March 26, 2012

Lease vs. buy solar


Leasing is designed to save you the majority of the upfront costs of buying. The number one stumbling block to installing solar is having to invest thousands of dollars up front. In many cases you can lease solar with no money down. This is a big benefit for people who don’t have a lot of capital, equity or who don’t want to take out a loan to buy a system.

You don’t have to pay to maintain the system with a solar lease. Typically you are not responsible for fixing the system if something goes wrong, breaks, or just wears out, this includes replacement of the solar inverter, which will have to be replaced somewhere between 10 and 15 years after the system is installed at present time would cost thousand dollars. Which all allows for peace of mind and worry free operation.

Leasing saves you money over utility produced electricity. As long as you have an optimal roof, which is south-facing roof and free of shade that can produce abundant solar electricity, as well as live in an area with good solar incentives, you’ll save money by buying electricity from a solar leasing company as opposed to from your utility. Most leases allow you to lock in a static electricity rate for 15 or more years, which potentially will save you more and more as electric rates charged by utilities continue to rise.


If you buy, you get all of the incentives and all of the long-term electricity savings. Of course if you need to take out a loan to buy a system, you’ll want to calculate the cost of interest into the total savings picture, and, if you’re inclined to look closely at the total savings picture, you might also want to calculate how much taking out a loan for a solar system will cost you elsewhere.

When you buy a solar system, it’s yours. All of the electricity you produce is yours and all that you over-produce is yours as well. This can be a tremendously satisfying feeling. Especially if you’re going to use your home solar system to power your home electric use and tens of thousands of miles per year in an electric car or two.

Buying offers you more flexibility and freedom. You have more freedom in terms of the size system you put on your home’s roof and where you put it when you buy than if you lease. Of course utility rebates, those rebates are typically contingent limits and rules about system efficiency and system capacity.

It might be easier to sell your home with a solar system you’ve bought. Potential buyers of your home might be turned off by having to sign on with a solar lease company. Then you must figure in buying out the lease to sell the home, with our without the panels.

When you buy solar, you make the money on the value solar adds to your home. If you do end up selling your home after you’ve benefited from several years, the money you've invested in your solar panels should repay itself in the price you’re able to ask and the extra money you make will be substantial.


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