I've heard there are companies with rent-to-own solar panels. Would you recommend this?


I've heard there are companies with rent-to-own solar panels. Would you recommend this?

Asked by Lyrinda Mitchell

I've heard of companies that finance solar panels for homes, like rent to own, with electricity locked in for about 20 years. Does anyone know of a company or deal like this?

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Jason Szumlanski's picture

Some solar companies do offer leasing for solar power systems. The bottom line: be careful and do your homework.

Pros and cons of leasing

In just about every case, if you have the money to invest in a solar energy system, or have a cheap source of financing available (like a home equity line of credit), a leasing program will be more expensive.

  • Remember, leasing companies make money on the interest you pay.
  • Also, the leasing company may stake a claim to incentives, tax credits, grants, and renewable energy credits or carbon offsets. Are you willing to give these things up?

On the other hand, leasing may be right for you if you want to go green, and pay a finance company for a solar energy system instead of paying the utility company for electricity derived from fossil fuels or nuclear energy.

Other considerations

There are other considerations, like what happens when you sell your home.

  • If you own the solar panels, you can take them with you, but
  • usually it is better to sell them with the home.

If your real estate agent is savvy enough, he or she will be able to build value from the energy savings the system produces.

Again, the bottom line is that you should buy instead of lease if you can afford the up-front cost.

For more information:

Read "How much will it cost to install solar panels on my 2,000-sq.-ft. home in San Francisco?" a Q&A answered by Christine and Robert Boles.