Thinking of Buying a Solar System Using a Solar Lease?
You may want to read this before you sign!
Questions are arising as to how the financing of solar leases actually works. Yes, it’s tempting to buy a solar system (sometimes with no money down), but who is actually benefiting the most from these innovative financing schemes?
An article in Renewable Energy World shows the beneficiaries of cheap solar PV panels and the ubiquitous solar leases to be not the consumer, but the financing companies and the installers.
The federal tax credit gives consumers a credit of up to 30% of the cost of the installed solar system. If the system is funded using a solar lease, the credit goes to the leasing company, not the homeowner.
However, it appears that the actual cost of the solar system can be a rather subjective number; the solar lease companies may be greatly inflating the actual cost of the system and the losers are the homeowners, the taxpayers and the reputation of the solar industry.
The cost of solar power, particularly with the Federal tax credit, is finally becoming comparable to the cost of utility company generated electricity as the cost of the PV panels continues to drop. However, in the case of solar leases, the cost saving is not necessarily being passed to the customer. One can only wonder how much more the leasing companies will be profiting if a feed-in tariff is ever enacted – as it well should be.
For more information on how well the middlemen are making out as the gap between low cost solar and high utility prices continues to grow, the following article from Renewable Energy World is an eyeopener.