Leasing vs. Buying Solar Panels

How much does it cost to lease solar panels? More than you might think. Much of the cost consists of hidden fees. Don't let yourself be caught by fine print and charismatic salespeople. Read on to see why no homeowner should lease solar. Can't find what you're looking for here? Visit our solar economics blog, which covers everything from qualifying for solar and the general costs of solar to understanding the Federal Tax Credit for solar (ITC). 

Leasing Solar Panels: The Not So Sunny Reality

Before entering a solar lease, it's good to get all the facts behind a solar lease. Having all the information will help you determine if a lease is the best solar financing option for you.

Reduced Savings Compared to Other Options

The appeal of entering a solar lease often comes from the lower monthly payments. Those who enter a solar lease typically get quoted a smaller monthly payment than their current electricity rates.

While paying less per month is great, solar leases often cost more than other solar panel financing options. Solar leases cost more because that lower payment is over 20 to 25 years, which means you never have a period when you don't have a payment. Both cash and solar loans have a higher solar ROI that provides customers years without electricity bills, making them both more solid financial choices.

Additionally, those who enter into solar lease agreements don't own the solar array. Because the customer doesn't own the array the solar company gets the federal and state incentives instead of the homeowner.

Lose Control Over Your Roof

When homeowners enter a solar leasing agreement, they give control to the solar company. While the solar leasing company might have an initial mock-up that looks good, the final product often has higher production than the homeowner needs and solar panels placed in highly viable areas. They do this to produce as much solar as possible on your roof, but the customer doesn't necessarily benefit from this extra production.

Potentially Decreases the Sellability of the Home

When homeowners enter solar leases, they don't own the solar array going on the roof. Because the homeowner isn't the array owner, it doesn't add value to the home. Leased solar also makes selling the house difficult.

Homeowners who need to sell their home before their lease ends have to buy out the lease or find someone willing to pay for the remainder of the lease. Both options aren't ideal.

Red Herring Service Plans

Most solar leasing companies offer solar service plans. However, solar doesn't require much maintenance. Additionally, solar panel warranties and your homeowners' insurance covers most solar panel damage. So, while solar lease service plans seem like they will save your bacon, most solar installation companies offer the same coverage.

Purchasing Solar Panels: Buying Solar Saves 20 Percent or More Than Leasing

Purchased solar has several benefits over leased solar arrays. These benefits include easier saleability, higher return on investment, more solar incentives, and control over the system aesthetics.

Leased solar arrays can be a good option if you only care about the environment and don't qualify for residential solar. However, if you can get a solar loan or have the cash, and your home is a good fit, it doesn't make financial sense to lease the system.

Don't believe us? Check out our bulleted list that goes over reasons why purchasing solar saves 20 percent more than leasing.

Purchasing Solar Panels Guarantees

Zero down loan or cash purchase

Only 12 years of fixed payments

Free solar energy for at least 85 percent of your yearly energy needs

At least 25 years of solar energy production — backed by a warranty

Leasing Solar Panels Means

A 20-year solar contract that’s hard to transfer to a new owner

Extra panels and placement on your roof that you may not like

Free energy production for the company leasing you the panels

A fixed rate for your energy usage until your contract ends (or is terminated)

Solar Savings Quote

Go Solar Group qualifies homeowners for solar and creates a free, no-obligation solar savings assessment in under 15 minutes. To see if you qualify, claim your quote.

If you can afford to pay in cash, this purchasing option will save the most money. These extra savings come from not paying any interest on the price of the solar array. However, homeowners who purchase solar will save a significant amount regardless of whether they pay with cash or through a loan.

Buying Solar Is Cheaper Because

Cash purchases have a 5-to-7-year payoff

Go Solar Group offers 10 percent off for anyone who pays cash

A home equity loan can provide a low-interest rate (3-5 percent)

The solar panels are yours to own or sell. You Choose!

It avoids solar PPA problems

Go Solar Group has internal financing as low as 2.99 percent

Get the Facts To Go Solar

We've given you the rundown on why leasing solar panels is not something that homeowners should do. If you want to learn more about the many benefits of purchasing solar, take a look at the links below.

Know How Much Solar Can Save

Solar Backup Prevents Blackouts

Saving the Earth Starts With You

Lock in Net Metering Prices

See Custom Savings

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