Usually one of the main points of the sales pitch from solar PV leasing companies is about the modest savings you will receive at first after signing a 20 yearMessage 1 of 3 , Mar 29View Source
Usually one of the main points of the sales pitch from solar PV leasing companies is about the modest savings you will receive at first after signing a 20 year lease. It’s the long term costs that are hard for the average consumer to grasp.
The rule of thumb while considering a PV lease [or any long-term investment] is to “think like an investor”. An investment should be an arrangement that will be of benefit to all parties for the duration of the agreement. A solar PV lease is most likely structured to benefit the lessor and not the leasee [that’s you].
The money paid by the investors that fund the leasing company and your system will absolutely be paid back first. If the lease is structured properly the investors will be paid back in full, plus interest, by the end of the fifth year. The 15 year balance of the lease will be mostly clear profit.
The lessor receives not only the 30% federal ITC but any utility incentive payment that is available. They also have depreciation [worth 50% of the often inflated system cost] to claim against their federal tax liability on their “business investment” that they installed on your roof.
They will emphasize the fact that maintenance or repairs won’t cost you anything. However the solar modules come with a 25 year performance warranty and often a ten year manufacturer warranty. Inverters come with a minimum of a 10 year, and often 15 year, warranty.
So assuming the system is installed properly there shouldn’t be any need for maintenance for the life of the system. Huge hail or a tornado or hurricane though and all bets are off.
The arguments against leasing are many. There are even classes for independent PV installers to learn how to bid against leases. It’s mainly teaching installers to educate the public that leased PV systems are a lousy deal for you and a sweet deal for the lessor.
I have a page on my www site with a couple of pointers you should think about before seriously considering a leased PV system. http://www.ntrei.com/Whylease.pdf
Support Your Local Solar Installer.
North Texas Renewable Energy Inc
NABCEP PV 031310-57
Someone asked me if this is true "Actress Daryl Hanna said some states will lease you solar panels for less than your electric bill. IE, look at your electric bill, install panels to meet those needs, and cost less than your current electrical payments.
Is that in Texas? "
If it is true, where do you go, locally, to get more information?