I am doing some research into Solar panel leasing and I wanted to reach out to all of you for information. There is a great deal of rumors about some hidden facts regarding this practice that can be detrimental to the homeowners, and that is the information that I am trying to collect for my research.
I like to thank you in advance for your help!
The builder doesn't understand the various scenarios of solar panels. Options should consider how long someone will live in a home when considering solar panel lease or ownership.
A 3rd option is to finance solar panels; however, check to make sure who gets the incentives and rebates. If the homeowner gets those, then they own the panels. If not, then the panels are still leased even though the solar company may say you own them. Financing might be a good consideration if a homeowner lives in the home at least 7 years.
Typical ROI for an owned solar system can be 7 - 10 years.
Same issue applies in Arizona. 95% of residential solar is leased so we are running into this during the sale process. Solar leasing companies don't know the details of home sales with leased panels so they don't discuss. I've encountered some very irritated homeowners!
I received a call a while back from a homeowner who was interested in selling his home. He had added owned solar panels as he thought that might help the sale of his home. When I explained that the value was about 30% (ball park) of what he had paid for the panels, he had no choice but to keep his home. He was upside down on the house.
The variables in buying a solar panel installation:
Equipment - Length of all Guarantees, Warrantees. Hail Damage, parts, workmanship etc. Get them all.
Efficiency Rating of each piece of equipment: Look at REM or another modeling program to determine what you need.
Contract sample AND Sales Contract sample. Get all blanks except signatures filled in. If the company does not want to do this cross them off you list and look elsewhere. If you get sales pitch about buy now or no lawyers needed, or some such walk away. Don't get caught up in this argument.
Get cost items the homeowner is responsible for, from each company. They may vary. Electrical Panels, House main panel, etc. Utility charges for meter change out, sign up fess etc etc Then get the actual costs.
Insurance: Ck your HO policy to see what is covered and how much for what is not covered. Then ask each of the companies (esp lease) what coverage they carry. Ask the lease company what coverage they carry for damage to your property when they are on your property maintaining their equipment. What about their Work Comp coverage? Don't accept our equp doesn't break.
Finally get the cost to buy the system at the end of the lease. $1 or another figure? Can you buy the system at some point(s) during the lease? What are those costs?
Ask the sales company 1) Why they think you should lease? 2) Why they think you should not lease? 3) Why you should buy?
Ask the lease company 2) Why they think you should buy? 2) Why they think you should not buy? 3 Why you should lease?