The Truth About Leasing Solar Before You Sign

December 12, 2023 | Reading Time: 7 minutes

October 13th, 2019

Courtesy | Fun107

I’ve been passionate about sharing my experience with solar power since I had the panels installed on my family’s home last year. My power bills were cut to zero this summer and I got a great tax credit that I put toward my loans to purchase and install the solar system.

I’ve gotten a lot of questions from listeners who wonder if solar might be right for them, and I wanted to make sure they had all the details about leasing vs. purchasing solar. Leasing is the more appealing-sounding deal because it doesn’t include a giant, up-front investment. You sign on the line with a company, you don’t need to find your own financier and you pay little or nothing to save big.

Leasing a solar system may sound like the best option for you, however make sure you consider all options before signing up. We spoke to Isaksen Solar for expert advice. Here are four major things:

1) Leasing panels means your savings will be modest. You will not be eligible for the federal tax benefit or local incentives for adding solar to your home, but your lease may contain verbiage that has you paying more money per kilowatt-hour as the years go on.The good news is you are guaranteed to save money as the price is locked in, and you are not responsible for the system breaking

2) Even though you are leasing, focus on quality. Not all solar systems are equal. A higher quality panel will last longer, look nicer, and have less problems. You want to ensure the company is using an all black solar panel as they look nicer, and you also want to make sure they are using a brand name panel, as that will guarantee the warranty.

3) Leasing agreements for solar systems can complicate a home sale. If you plan on moving before the lease agreement is up (which can typically be 20 to 25 years), you could scare away potential home buyers. You want to ensure the system looks nice, so that potential buyers do not feel it hurts the look of the home. Make sure you pick a company that will go the extra mile to make the system look nice. Also make sure the installation company will help with the transfer of the system to the new home owner.

4) Leasing panels is a 25 year commitment for your roof. Yes, it’s your house, but the leasing company wants to maximize its profit. You could end up with more panels than you want. When you lease panels, you are required to keep the panels on your roof. If panels have issues, the lease company is liable to fix all issues associated with the system. Make sure you pick a company that will honor its warranty on the leased system.

Just like you would have your taxes reviewed by a second accountant, It is a good idea to have a second professional review your agreement before you sign up with a solar company. If you are looking at getting solar right now and you are unsure about the agreement terms, Isaksen offers a free agreement review. Don’t be pressured by a salesperson looking to close a deal. Learn the good, bad, and the ugly about leasing solar before you commit to anyone and make sure that whatever you choose is 100 percent right for your home.