Leasing vs. Owning Solar Panels: The Nitty Gritty Truth

January 26, 2017 | By EcoMark Solar

Electricity costs have increased by 67 percent in the past decade, and the trend is predicted to continue. Now is the best time to consider owning solar panels for your Colorado home. You don’t need to watch your energy bills climb year after year when the sun powers your home. After all, you get 300 days of sunshine throughout the year, so you’re in a great location to get the full benefits.

However, the expenses associated with a solar system could create some hesitation on your part. Solar is a costly home improvement, and you do have some ramp up time before you make a return on your investment. Federal and Colorado tax credits and incentive programs help bring the cost down. You have three purchasing options for solar panels: lease, buy or finance. The right choice for you depends on your financial situation and whether you’re planning on staying in your home for a long time.

Leasing Solar Panels

Denver home solar panels

You have the option of leasing solar panels, rather than purchasing them outright or taking out a loan. Each month, you make a payment until you reach the end of the contract. A typical solar panel lease ranges from 15 to 20 years, although the exact term depends on the company you’re working with.

You may have a cost ramp up built into the lease, such as a certain percentage added to the bill every few years. Typically, your costs remain lower than they were when you paid for electricity from the grid.

Benefits of Leasing Solar Panels

The upfront cost of putting in a solar panel system in Colorado may be too much to pay all at once. If you have credit problems, financing your solar panels could be difficult or impossible.

By leasing solar panels, you spread the expenses over the long-term. You can take advantage of renewable energy without digging into your savings or taking out a loan. Once you reach the end of the lease, you have the option to upgrade to a new system with the latest technology. You also don’t need to worry about handling the maintenance.

Installing a Solar System

Before you bring professional solar panel installers to your property, take the time to check on your roof so it’s ready for the new addition. Damage to the roofing material, leaks and mildew in your attic and ventilation issues may contribute to problems down the road.

An official roof inspection can put your mind at ease, and it makes the solar panel installation go much more smoothly. You don’t have to worry about a hidden structural issue in your roof causing a delay or a cancellation of your project.

The solar panel installation process starts with a visit from the installers. They take exact measurements of your roof space, collect information about its structure and look at your existing electrical infrastructure. They will then design a solar system plan that takes into account everything from your home’s elevation to your roofing material. Afterwards, a team of experienced installers will put the solar panels on your roof and create the necessary connections between this system and your electrical infrastructure so you can take advantage of lower energy costs.

Why You Should Buy

Family discussing reasons to invest in Colorado solar panels

Leasing solar panels is an attractive prospect. However, owning solar panels is the better option in the long run, especially if you plan on selling your home shortly. If you have leased panels on your house when you go to sell your home, you have to transfer the lease to the new owner. The buyers must qualify to take it over. This can be an issue and may add an additional step to an already stressful process.

When you own the solar system on your home, you can add the value of the panels to the purchase price. The profit from the house sale can even pay off any financing agreements that you have in place for the system. Then you can buy another solar installation at your new property and re-qualify for the 30 percent tax credit.

If you leased the solar panels, the company is the one that owns the system, which means you won’t get access to the 30 percent federal tax credit. Instead, it goes straight to the leasing company. This means you won’t have anything to show after years of paying for your leased panels. The leasing company also owns the power that your panels generate. You may get a reduction in your monthly utility bill, but you still have to pay a percentage to the solar leasing company. Buying the system gives you access to Colorado solar incentives.

We also offer financing for your home solar system. You have the opportunity to get all the advantages of buying without investing a significant amount upfront. Our flexible financing options work with your home improvement budget and get you on your way to energy cost savings.

Are you considering reaping the benefits and investing in solar panels for your Colorado home? Contact us today to get your installation process started as soon as possible! Those energy bills aren’t going to go down by themselves, after all.

EcoMark First Time Solar Panel Buyer's Guide

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