With solar gaining popularity as a clean energy source, consumers face the challenge of actually getting the panels on their rooftops.
There are two main options available to you: buying or leasing. Each choice has its pros and cons, and ultimately the best option for you depends on your specific circumstances.
However, before making that choice, you should consider these factors to guide your decision.
What to consider before buying or leasing solar panels
The decision to install solar panels is a big one. There are several factors to consider before making the switch, from the initial cost to the long-term savings. Here are a few things you’ll need to take into account before making the switch to solar:
The initial cost of installation: Solar panels aren’t cheap. You’ll need to factor in the equipment and labor cost when considering whether solar is right for you.
Energy needs: What’s your daily power consumption? You may want to consider solar panels if you have a high energy consumption.
Your location: Solar panels work best in sunny locations. If you live in an area with lots of sunshine, you’re more likely to see financial benefits from solar panels.
Your roof: Is your roof strong enough to support solar panels? You’ll need to have a structural evaluation done before installation can begin.
Long-term savings: Solar panels can save you money on your energy bill in the long run—factor in the cost of electricity over time when making your decision.
Buying solar panels
Solar panels are an excellent way to cut your reliance on fossil fuels and save money on your energy bill. However, the upfront cost of buying solar panels is typically higher than leasing, but you will save money on your utility bills over time.
If you have up-front cash available, buying solar panels may be your best option. The upfront cost of purchasing and installing solar panels can be pricey, but tax credits and other incentives can help offset the initial investment.
You also have complete control over their system, meaning you can make any changes or upgrades as you see fit.
In addition, solar panels can add value to your home. According to a study by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, homes with solar panels sell for an average of 4.1% more than comparable homes without solar panels.
One reason is that solar panels represent a significant investment in energy efficiency.
Homebuyers are willing to pay more for a home with solar panels installed, knowing they will save money on their energy bills. Solar panels can also help a home qualify for green certifications, which adds to the value.
But, solar panels mainly produce electricity during the day, so you’ll still need a backup power source for nighttime use. Despite these drawbacks, solar panels offer a significant benefit to environmental sustainability. And as renewable energy sources become increasingly prevalent, the cost of solar panels will likely continue to drop.
Leasing solar panels
Leasing solar panels can be a good option if you don’t have the up-front cash to buy them outright. With a lease, you will make monthly payments to the solar panel company, and they will own and maintain the panels. While your monthly payments may be higher than your energy savings, you will break even over time and start saving money.
However, consider the following before signing a lease.
First, ensure that the lease terms are favorable. Some companies may try to lock you into a long-term agreement with high monthly payments. Read the fine print and ensure you understand the lease terms.
Second, you’ll need to consider the potential future value of the panels. If you decide to sell your home, the leased panels will likely become the property of the leasing company. As a result, you may not see any return on your investment.
Also, you’ll need to be comfortable with the idea of someone else owning and maintaining your solar panels. If something goes wrong with the panels, you’ll need to contact the leasing company for repairs or replacement.
There are other drawbacks to leasing solar panels. For example, you will likely have to cancel your lease agreement if you move homes. Again, if the value of your home increases over time, you will not benefit from this increase since you do not own the panels.
Overall, leasing solar panels can be an excellent option for some homeowners, but it’s critical to do your research before signing any agreement.
The best option for you will ultimately depend on your specific circumstances, though buying them outright gives you more leverage. Consider all of the factors before making a decision.