In the convenience of this day and age, many items are available to buy and own or rent, and solar panels are no exception. And like most of these choices, the answer to whether you should buy or rent solar panels depends on your unique
situation. Your property, financing, and long-term decisions all play a part in influencing which choice is best for you.
Let’s weigh the options to find out the best way for you to harness the power of the sun.
Financing to Own
Most solar panel companies provide the option to finance the panels, but it’s important to take a good look at that financing, the rates, and whether or not such an investment will play out to your advantage. For example, depending on whether you choose to remain in your home long-term, solar panels may or may not pay for themselves over time.
Fortunately for those who choose to make the leap, there are hefty incentives associated with this purchase. Those purchasing solar panels receive a federal tax credit of an incredible 30% of the overall solar implementation cost. In contrast to leasing over a long-term, this can be a very enticing option. Many solar financing options come with $0 down terms, and the tax credit can be applied over the next 5 years.
Value is another benefit to purchasing versus leasing. Aside from a great return on investment over the life of the panels, they can greatly increase the value of your property.
The downside of purchasing is that there is no maintenance contract, and therefore replacing and maintaining the system is your responsibility. Extended warranties can be an important part of ensuring you are getting the most out of your purchase.
Solar panel leasing is also a good option, especially if financing is not an attractive option, or if you do not expect to utilize the panels for 25+ years. This option allows you to convert to solar without a large upfront cost, and if you change your mind you are not locked into purchasing the panels. You can also expect a fixed cost of electricity and replacements and maintenance that will keep your panels in good working order over the life of your lease. Plus, replacement of parts does not come directly out of your pocket. At the end of the lease you can purchase the panels at “fair market value” or have the panels removed.
Regardless of whether you lease or purchase, solar panels are a great investment if you’re looking to harness natural energy and cut down your power bill by anywhere from ¼ to ½ of what it is today. Regardless of which option you choose, the cost of your system will not increase over the life of your purchase or the life of your lease—even despite increasing electricity prices. And that is an idea worth buying into.