Leasing vs. Buying Solar Panels: Which Is Right For You?
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Leasing vs. Buying Solar Panels: Which Is Right For You?

Leasing reduces the up-front costs of installing solar panels
Read Time: 3 minutes
Apr 18, 2022

Solar panels can be a fantastic way to save money on electricity bills while helping the environment at the same time. However, installing solar panels can have a high up-front cost that may be discouraging for many homeowners who are interested in solar panels. Fortunately, it may be possible to lease solar panels instead of having to buy them outright.

There are pros and cons to both options. It’s important for homeowners to thoroughly research both leasing and purchasing options for solar panels so that they make the choice that works best for them.

Leasing Solar Panels

Men working on installing solar panels

Leasing Solar Panels Has Lower Up-Front Costs

Leasing solar panels instead of buying them significantly lowers the up-front costs of purchasing solar panels. Leased solar panels are rented from the solar panel company, usually for a monthly cost. A downside of leasing solar panels, however, is that the solar panels always belong to the company rather than to the homeowner, even after a long period of making payments.

Leasing Solar Panels Can Complicate Moving

Solar panels can help to increase a home’s value. However, this process becomes more difficult when you don’t own the solar panels yourself. Homeowners who own them outright can sell them along with the house for a higher overall value. Leased solar panels, however, don’t add the same kind of value to the home. This is because the new owner would have to take over the lease, and sometimes, that’s not possible. If the leasing company doesn’t allow lease transfers, then you may have to pay a fee to get out of the contract.

Leasing Reduces Maintenance Costs

If you own the solar panels, then you’re responsible for all repairs, maintenance, and upkeep. However, if you lease them, then the company that owns them would be responsible for the costs of maintenance instead. You would still need to clean the solar panels, but that just involves brushing leaves and debris off of them rather than making or paying for any repairs.

Purchasing Solar Panels

Men at work installing solar panels

Purchased Solar Panels Are Owned by You

Leasing solar panels can be a less expensive option at the time of installation. However, the solar panels never become yours. Purchasing them outright is the best option if you can afford it because then you benefit from them as an investment. Some solar panel companies may offer payment plans that would be similar to leasing but would eventually result in ownership. Additionally, you can look into government credits and other benefits that could help to reduce the up-front costs.

Purchasing Solar Panels Qualifies You For Incentives

There are often government incentives that can reduce the cost of solar panels or refund homeowners that purchase them in the form of tax credits or rebates. If you purchase solar panels, then you can benefit from these incentives. However, if you’re leasing them, then the company that owns them would be the one that benefited from any available government benefits.

Both Leasing and Buying Solar Panels Reduces Energy Costs

While both leasing and buying have their benefits and drawbacks, both options will help you to save money on your energy bills. If you’re leasing, what you save on electricity costs can go towards the lease payments. If you’re buying, then those savings will eventually help you to recover what you spent on the solar panels in the first place.

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