I didn’t even know it was possible to lease, rather than purchase, solar panels for your home. Apparently in my state, as of 2009, it is. This is great news for people that don’t have 15-20k to buy solar panels. Companies like SolarCity can install and finance your panels, while other companies like SunRun can team up with installers to offer you leasing options.
The lease agreement we are looking into involves installing 30 panels that will produce about 6.75 kW of energy by using 538 sq ft of our roof. This system will cost us $75/month for the next 20 years. Thanks to incredible federal rebates, as well as rebates from our local energy company, a 35k system only costs 13k, if you’re willing to purchase it now. But then you will have to maintain it yourself. Leasing it for 20 years at $75/month will only cost 18k. The great thing about leasing is that it includes maintenance and repair on the system. At the end of 20 years, we can sign a new lease, purchase the panels, or have them removed at no cost to us.
I have reviewed my family’s energy bills. We consume anywhere from 500 Kwh (in months like April and Oct) to just over 1000 (in Dec and Jan). In October, we used 533 Kwh, costing us $72 with taxes and fees. So leasing will not cost much more than we are currently paying and often, will cost less. The solar company estimates that energy prices will rise at a rate of about 6%, which means that in 20 years, instead of paying $0.10/Kwh, we will be paying $0.33, making 533 cost close to $200. And on those months when we use closer to 1000 Kwh, I’m sure we’ll enjoy paying only $75 for our electricity, rather than $400. We still have to pay the energy company for taxes and fees and an estimated 5% or less of our energy, but that should only be $10-15/month. Currently, we pay less than $20 for natural gas.
If your state allows leasing and has enough sun to justify solar panels, this is a great thing to look into. Not only do you reduce your carbon footprint, but you save money and make a statement to your neighbors. There are no upfront costs, the system is maintained by the company, and in many cases, won’t cost you any more than you’re spending now. You’ll just be sending your money to a green solar company rather than to a coal-burning electric company. Now is also a great time to go solar with so many rebate and tax credits making systems very affordable.
Below are some of the environmental benefits our system will provide by replacing electricity made from the burning of fuels:
- 410 barrels of oil offset by our system
- 358,903 miles not driven in a car
- 287,041 lbs of greenhouse gas not emitted
- the equivalent of planting 687 trees
When our system is installed in 3-4 months, I’ll share more about it!