Buying Solar Panels vs. Leasing Solar Panels
Buying solar panels is your best bet in today’s energy market. We will discuss the pros and cons in this article, but first, we must address one fact. The ONLY way to receive a 30% federal tax credit on the cost of your solar energy system is if you BUY your panels.
Leasing solar panels from a solar provider merely give you benefits as a renter of the energy system. If you don’t buy, the company you lease from remains the owner of the solar panel system and, therefore, receives the long term financial benefits. As a lessee, you are a mere user of your solar energy system.
If you do buy, you become the owner of your home’s main power source.
Leasing Solar Panels is Trending Down in the Market
Your decision to lease or buy will depend on your long term financial goals as a homeowner. Solar investors are finding more financial benefits in favor of ownership through:
- Cash up front
- Secured loans
- Unsecured loans
The Pros of Buying Solar Panels
To receive the greatest cash return on your solar panel investment, an outright purchase is your best option.
- Investing in solar through a purchase gives you the potential for massive lifetime returns
- Claim a 30 percent Federal income tax credit on the cost of your system
- Claim a solar renewable energy rebate or incentive offered by your State (where available)
- Deduct interest paid on your secured loan in your future tax returns
- Receive all financial incentives as the owner of your solar panel system
- Increase the market value of your home through solar panel ownership
- Realize a faster and easier sale of your home when you’re ready to put it on the market
The Cons of Buying Solar Panels
The only real con of buying solar panels is the required upfront costs. However, although an outright solar panel purchase requires a substantial amount of out-of-pocket cash, you do have the option of financing through a zero-down loan.
The Pros and Cons of Leasing Solar Panels
The obvious pros of leasing panels are (1) you will be able to realize immediate savings on your monthly utility costs by choosing a solar panel leasing option and (2) lease payments for your solar system will be lower than your monthly utility costs after installation.
Cons? There are plenty:
- You can’t claim the 30 percent Federal income tax credit available with a purchase
- No interest deductions on your future income tax returns
- Solar leases require you to be contractually bound to making monthly payments throughout the entire rental term – 20 to 25 years – with minimal monetary gains when the lease is up.
- No increase to the market value of your home
- You are overpaying for a solar panel system over time versus the value you receive from outright purchase
- Difficulty in transitioning ownership of panels through the sale of the home resulting in delayed or disrupted offers to purchase
Our Recommendation – Buy Your Solar Panels
Buy. Buy. Buy. – is the recommendation of the solar energy experts at Solar.com. Buying solar panels is the preferred method of acquiring a system for your home. Recent market studies have shown a precipitous drop in the price of solar panels for both homeowners and small businesses.
Solar panel energy investors in 2017 are expected to increasingly choose to buy their systems over the leasing option. Buying realizes the complete financial and environmental benefits offered through solar energy.
The time period for a homeowner’s return on investment for a solar system is estimated to be 5-7 years, depending on your situation.
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