BUYING SOLAR PANELS VS. LEASING SOLAR PANELS
Should you buy your solar panels or lease your solar panels? When it comes to buying solar panels, as with any big investment, you want to be sure you have all the facts so you can make the best decision when you make your purchase. And when it comes to solar, one of the biggest questions is whether to buy or lease your solar panel system.
Should you be buying Solar Panels?
With advancements in technology, government incentives such as tax credits, and a growing competitive market, buying your solar system is quite affordable. Some states even offer cash rebates to purchasers for their solar panels! Owning your system outright will give you great overall savings. In addition to that, your solar system will increase your home value, which gives you more sellers power if you ever need to move. However, leasing can also be an excellent choice in the right situation. You don’t have to save up to pay for them, or take out a loan. And your leasing company is responsible for any maintenance that your solar panel system may require.
When you should lease Solar Panels
Leasing solar panels is much different than buying your own system. When leasing a solar panel system, you allow a third-party supplier to install their panels on your rooftop, typically for 20-25 years. The third party owns the solar panels and thus receives all government subsidies and tax benefits, and you pay them a monthly fee. After a certain amount of time, you would usually have the option of purchasing the solar panels yourself.
You receive none of the incentives or credits you would just buying solar panels. And usually it’s a 20-25 year-long lease, which means that if you ever need to move you either have to find someone willing to take over the solar lease when they move into the house, or you have to pay a break fee to the leasing company. However, because you didn’t take out a solar loan, or use up a chunk of your savings, you still save overall by going solar. You get the benefits of reducing your electric bill, while having a single lease payment that will not increase over time.
We’ve put together this handy chart that highlights the biggest differences between buying solar panels and leasing solar panels:
Buying Solar Panels
With solar loans, tax credits, and state incentives, you can get your solar panels for $0 down.
When buying your solar panels, you receive all the tax credits and state incentives for going solar.
Your long-term savings are much greater if you own your system, especially since your system will pay for itself in typically 3-7 years.
Owning solar panels increases your home value, giving you more seller’s power (and money) if you ever need to move.
Leasing Solar Panels
Because you aren’t buying the system yourself, the leasing company pays all the costs of installation instead of you.
When leasing, the company you lease from receives all solar incentives and rebates because they own the system.
Most solar leases are 20 years-long, which means you see great savings from your electric bill while having a minimal lease payment.
If you need to move, the buyer has to agree to take the lease over from you. Otherwise you may have to pay the leasing company a break fee, which can be expensive.
As You Can See…
There are good reasons to buy, or to lease. If you don’t want to put down the initial payment, or take out a loan, a solar lease can be a great option. If you’d rather own your solar panels yourself, there are great long-term savings, as well as incentives such as the Federal Solar Tax Credit to help you make the switch. Ask your Energy Renovation Center Home Improvement Specialist consultant for any further details or questions.