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20 year Commitment for Solar Lease. Does anyone else think this is a long time?

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  • 20 year Commitment for Solar Lease. Does anyone else think this is a long time?

    Has anyone else considered going solar with a 20 year Lease? If so, why did you decide to do it or not do it? This seems like a long commitment. I'd love to hear from (or talk to) others who have thought this through so I can make an informed decision. Thank you for your help!

  • #2
    In a one word answer: NO!

    Don't do it.

    Use search for "lease".
    8 kWp gnd;SE 7600A;P400;Hanwha Q.PLUS L-G4.2 335W

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    • #3
      In a lease situation the lessor is parking their equipment on your roof and likely taking all the benefits of having that array up there. If you have any possibility you might want to sell your house within that 20 years you will have a big sticking point in that the prospective buyer must be willing to assume this lease or someone must buy it out at a terribly inflated price.. There are MANY other reasons why you shouldn't lease solar.
      Last edited by littleharbor; 03-27-2018, 04:18 PM.
      2.2kw Suntech mono, Classic 200, NEW Trace SW4024

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      • #4
        Originally posted by BrianRoss View Post
        Has anyone else considered going solar with a 20 year Lease? If so, why did you decide to do it or not do it? This seems like a long commitment. I'd love to hear from (or talk to) others who have thought this through so I can make an informed decision. Thank you for your help!
        Only those uniformed and ignorant enough to think it's a good deal.

        Leasing is, in the opinion of a lot of the more informed about such things, usually a very bad deal.

        Get informed and you will perhaps/likely agree it's a screw job.

        The nothing down B.S. is costly and constricting in the end.

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        • #5
          As an individual, there are very few things in life you should ever lease (cars, furniture, appliances, solar panels, etc.). Leasing just means someone else is in the middle of your deal taking the majority of the benefits of ownership. Do not even think about it when it comes to solar.
          Dave W. Gilbert AZ
          6.63kW grid-tie owner

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          • #6
            https://www.solar-estimate.org/solar-financing
            Last edited by solar pete; 04-27-2018, 07:04 PM.
            9.36 grid tied, Phoenix Arizona

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            • #7
              Originally posted by BrianRoss View Post
              Has anyone else considered going solar with a 20 year Lease?
              "considered" - yes - I did in the broad sense of the word.

              If so, why did you decide to do it or not do it? This seems like a long commitment.
              Why not - it's almost always a less attractive deal compared to buying.
              I had a couple of them proposed to me while considering solar.

              If you:
              * can't use the tax credit at all
              and
              * know that you will absolutely not move out in the next 20 years (no matter if you change jobs, lose your job, etc)
              and
              * can't afford to pay for it up front
              and
              * can't get a reasonable rate loan for the installation

              then *maybe* it could be slightly better financially
              But probably not.

              Average length someone stays in a house is 5 or 7 years I think. (Real estate agents have articles where someone has compiled statistics on it)
              So even if you're not planning to move, I would still calculate whether you're better off in year 5 and in year 10 if you had to move at that point. (Typically the lease seller gives you a table of how much it'd cost to buy out the lease at various times)
              You can even make it worse for the purchase side by including a cost of $4k for replacing the inverter in year 10.

              BTW - make sure you use a realistic power output for the solar installation - the solar salesmen will generally not give you numbers that are reasonable for an average year.

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              • #8
                Buying is almost always the way to go. If you have enough savings, the cash purchase will save you the most over time, as it has the shortest payback period of any financing option. In lieu of this, a loan is a great option, as many financiers have created special solar loan options. All in all, go solar, save yourself some money, help the environment, and become the owner of your home

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by reonenergy View Post
                  Buying is almost always the way to go. If you have enough savings, the cash purchase will save you the most over time, as it has the shortest payback period of any financing option. In lieu of this, a loan is a great option, as many financiers have created special solar loan options. All in all, go solar, save yourself some money, help the environment, and become the owner of your home
                  I would also recommend contacting professional companies to get details.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by reonenergy View Post
                    Buying is almost always the way to go. If you have enough savings, the cash purchase will save you the most over time, as it has the shortest payback period of any financing option.
                    Well duh. Just make sure the ROI is about 5-7 years max.

                    Originally posted by reonenergy View Post
                    In lieu of this, a loan is a great option, as many financiers have created special solar loan options.
                    A great option for the company loaning the money. Financiers have created special solar loan options because there is money to be made from people who don't mind being in debt.

                    Originally posted by reonenergy View Post
                    All in all, go solar, save yourself some money, help the environment...
                    If you have to get a loan to do that then you aren't getting the best deal and probably should not be going solar. You would be better off investing the money elsewhere. You aren't helping the environment nearly as much as people would have you believe.

                    Originally posted by reonenergy View Post
                    ...and become the owner of your home.
                    If you don't own your home you better not be thinking of adding solar panels.
                    Dave W. Gilbert AZ
                    6.63kW grid-tie owner

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                    • #11
                      Great for the lease company.

                      Terrible idea for the homeowner
                      Powerfab top of pole PV mount (2) | Listeroid 6/1 w/st5 gen head | XW6048 inverter/chgr | Iota 48V/15A charger | Morningstar 60A MPPT | 48V, 800A NiFe Battery (in series)| 15, Evergreen 205w "12V" PV array on pole | Midnight ePanel | Grundfos 10 SO5-9 with 3 wire Franklin Electric motor (1/2hp 240V 1ph ) on a timer for 3 hr noontime run - Runs off PV ||
                      || Midnight Classic 200 | 10, Evergreen 200w in a 160VOC array ||
                      || VEC1093 12V Charger | Maha C401 aa/aaa Charger | SureSine | Sunsaver MPPT 15A

                      solar: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Solar
                      gen: http://tinyurl.com/LMR-Lister

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by reonenergy View Post
                        Buying is almost always the way to go. If you have enough savings, the cash purchase will save you the most over time, as it has the shortest payback period of any financing option. In lieu of this, a loan is a great option, as many financiers have created special solar loan options. All in all, go solar, save yourself some money, help the environment, and become the owner of your home
                        I'd avoid solar loans. Most of them are scams and B.S. Best way is cash. If you need to finance it, there's a good chance you probably shouldn't be doing PV for financial reasons.

                        Also as Azdave notes, if you don't own the property the PV is attached to, you probably ought not o be putting your own assets into a PV system for that property.

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                        • #13
                          I bought mine with a home equity loan with a 2.9 apr. My monthly heloc payment is less than my prior average monthly electric bill. Just hit the year mark and did my taxes and found ok out I was able to write off the heloc as mortage interest. My accountant said I could write it off every year so I paid zero in interest on it and will for the next 4 years.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by BFW577 View Post
                            I bought mine with a home equity loan with a 2.9 apr. My monthly heloc payment is less than my prior average monthly electric bill. Just hit the year mark and did my taxes and found ok out I was able to write off the heloc as mortage interest. My accountant said I could write it off every year so I paid zero in interest on it and will for the next 4 years.
                            HELOC is one possibility that's less onerous than other loans.

                            I always work off the logic to borrow for assets that appreciate and pay cash for those that are necessary but don't appreciate.

                            The way it looks, I'm not convinced that PV on a residential property will appreciate or add much to the resale value of a property, if not reduce it's salability.

                            Unless someone is prepared to do an economic analysis using time value of money that includes loan costs, tax consequences and other considerations as well as comparison of alternatives to see if a more financially productive alternate may exist for the assets other than residential PV, it's a moot point beyond the idea that borrowing costs money and that will lower the cost effectiveness of any asset.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by BFW577 View Post
                              My accountant said I could write it off every year so I paid zero in interest on it and will for the next 4 years.
                              You don't seem to understand what it means to "write it off".
                              It doesn't mean you paid $0 in interest.
                              It means if you paid $3000 in interest you don't have to pay taxes on that $3000. Which probably means you have ~$1000 less to pay in taxes to federal and state government.
                              It does not mean you have $3000 less to pay to federal and state gov't.
                              Now it might mean $1.2k less or $500 less - it really depends on how much you are taxed on those last few dollars of income. (your "marginal tax rate" - as opposed to your average tax rate, which is going to be a lower percentage)

                              You can look at it as if you're after-tax interest rate has been reduced by your marginal tax rate.
                              ex: 2.9% interest with a 25% federal tax and 8% state tax is effectively like it's a 1.94% interest rate loan. (2.9% * (100%-25%-8%) = 1.94%)

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