Solar Leasing: How Does It Work?
- Solar installation companies charge a fee for the leased solar panels.
- The solar energy company receives the state incentives, plus the 30% federal credit available until the end of this year, as added payment.
- The customer’s electric bills drop; the monthly lease payments plus the new electric bill is still less than the old electric bill, even without collecting the incentives.
- Everyone’s happy, including Mother Earth.
How Much Money Can You Save with a Solar Lease?
Monthly costs for the lease are nowhere near what it would cost to finance the entire purchase and installation of your solar panels, even if you collected the available state and federal incentives yourself. Out-of-pocket funds for a lease add up to about half the purchase price to buy a solar system, and average around $100 per month, according to most company’s quotes.
A solar installer named BrightGrid says solar panels save homeowners between 10 and 20% on their electric bill. SolarCity has a solar calculator that shows a solar system could slash electric bills by 25 to 30 percent on an average suburban home. In an AP article, Sungevity Development LLC in Oakland, Calif. quotes a 2.8 kW system at about $67 per month for the lease and says that system could wipe out an electric bill of $80 per month.
It’s even possible your electric bill could drop all the way down to zero — or into the negative figures, where your meter runs backward, feeding electric to your utility company, which you can use as a credit toward future bills.
Find Out Your Real Savings with a Solar Lease
Your mileage may vary, as the saying goes. But in most cases, according to most solar leasing company websites, the amount of money you’ll save on your electric is less than the cost of the lease, so homeowners come out ahead.
Is a solar lease the right choice for you? The only way to find out is to shop around and have a solar leasing company or solar panel installer run the numbers for your specific home and situation.