Solar for Homes: An Easy Way to Decide if You Should Buy or Lease Your Panels

Only about 8 years ago, solar panels were hardly in anybody’s radar. The interested homeowners were mostly a part of special interest groups: For early adapters, solar panels were the new cool gadget. For environmentally conscious homeowner, they were a way of contributing to sustainability. For many others, they were just expensive with paybacks stretching over 7+ years.

Today, many homeowners have come to know more about solar panels and how much they can lower their electricity bills, thanks to the massive marketing campaigns by many solar companies that popped in the marketplace in just the last few years. Yet, the information they have is still murky since many companies drum up what they would like to sell, rather than what is the right solution for each homeowner. This creates a confusion among the homeowners in addition to a lack of trust towards the solar companies. Our role as solar providers should not be imposing what we want to sell, but rather understand the homeowners’ needs and what benefits them most for their individual goals.

One of the questions that arise is if a homeowner should buy or lease the panels. The answer depends on the goal of the homeowner and her personal circumstances.

Here is a simple set of qualifiers for each option:

Buy The Panels If This is You:

You own your home and you have pretty high bills (over $250/month). You have access to cash or low-interest loans. You pay Federal Income Taxes every year and using your own tax dollars to get a solar system sounds like a great way of using your hard-earned cash. You love the idea of getting rid of more than 80% of your power bills and you like a high return on your investment (over 15%) and you are fine with a 4-year payback, because you intend to stay at your house for 10+ years. You like the simplicity of owning the system, in case you do have to sell the house, there are no solar contracts you need to worry about passing onto the new buyer. You don’t mind keeping an eye on your monitoring system to make sure the system is producing the amount of power it is supposed to. You also don’t mind washing you panels with a power hose every now and then.

Lease The Panels If This is You:

You own your home or you rent and your electricity bills are over $150/month. You don’t plan to stay for a long time at your current home, or maybe you have no idea when you would sell the house. You don’t have access to cash or a loan or you are unwilling to get into debt.  Even if you do have access to cash, you’d rather use it for a cool vacation or the college tuition for your kids rather than home renovation. You might be paying very little or no Federal Income Taxes. You like the idea of paying nothing upfront and just saving 20-30% on your bills on monthly basis. You also like being able to lock the rate increase on a big part of your power bill (the part that you pay to the solar leasing company).  You’d love it if someone else monitored and maintained the system and paid you for the discrepancy if your system does not produce what it is supposed to.

You don’t fall into any of these categories and would like to know what might be best for you? No problem. We are here to help.


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