When installing solar panels, there are two different options to choose from: Either purchase a system or lease it. Currently, you can do either for no money down and low payments. But there are different pros and cons to each choice that every homeowner should consider when trying to decide which route to take. Here are a few things to consider:
Purchasing Solar Panels
Solar panel prices have come down a lot over the past few years making it possible for more people to afford purchasing their own system. The federal government and most states are offering incentives in the form of federal rebates, tax credits, and state or local incentives, lowering the overall cost of the system even more.
On average, the payback period for a solar PV system is five to seven years. Or if you’re one of those top-tier paying customers, your payback time may be even shorter. And once you’ve realized your initial investment, you can enjoy producing your own power for the next 30 years without shelling out additional money. The system will also increase the value of your home (without increasing your property taxes), and when you sell, the new owners will happily benefit from the energy production.
Upkeep on the system is just a matter of keeping leaves and debris off the panels, usually just by hosing the panels down a few times a year. Automatic cleaning systems are also available or you can utilize local solar panel cleaning companies to more thoroughly clean the panels.
Leasing Solar Panels
If you are looking for a more affordable solution, leasing may be the way to go. For a set monthly price, you can have the same energy benefits as owning.
The company you lease your system from retains ownership so they’re the ones who receive the federal rebates and state incentives. But the savings are passed along in the monthly lease price. The lease period is usually 15 to 20 years. Most companies do not offer a buyout at the end of the term; however, it is worth noting that SunPower is one of the few manufacturers that does.
Leases can be transferred when selling your home, though that is dependent on the credit qualifications of the new owners. System monitoring is usually included with both purchasing and leasing.
It would be a good idea to sit down with a trained Solar Consultant to discuss which option works best for your unique situation. If you’d like to schedule a free site analysis, we’d be happy to help you weigh your options.