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Buy vs. Lease Solar Panels: Which Is the Best Option?

November 28, 2022

Wondering whether to buy or lease solar panels for your home? Schedule a consultation with PES Solar today by calling 800-650-6519.

Many homeowners find themselves stuck in the buy vs. lease solar panel debate, trying to decide which option best suits their needs. Buying and leasing solar equipment both present advantages and disadvantages, so your best choice will depend on your specific needs, budget, and solar plan. 

Keep reading to explore the pros and cons of buying and leasing solar panels. If you’re ready to start the installation process now, call PES Solar, Orlando’s top-rated solar panel contractors. We have the experience to design and install your new solar system. 

Buying Solar Panels

If you want to add a solar panel array to your home, you can choose to buy the solar equipment outright. If you pay with cash, you don’t have to worry about continued monthly payments or leasing costs. However, purchasing solar panels is a significant upfront investment, and many homeowners rely on financing and payment plans to purchase their solar equipment with private loans and solar loan programs. 

Leasing Solar Panels

Solar leases represent an alternative to buying your solar panels outright. Rather than owning the solar panels, you pay a solar company a monthly fee in exchange for using their solar equipment. With this option, you beneift from getting solar energy to your home but don’t own the equipment.

Buy vs. Lease Solar Panels: Key Considerations 

Choosing between these two options can prove challenging, as they both have their benefits and drawbacks. Keep reading for some key things to consider before deciding to buy or lease solar panels. The primary considerations in the buy vs. lease solar panel debate include the following:

Upfront and Long-term Costs

Leasing solar equipment often includes little to no upfront costs, making it an excellent option if you’re on a budget. However, if you can purchase solar panels outright or make a down payment on a solar loan, you’ll accrue more long-term savings because you will eventually pay off the solar system and eliminate that monthly payment. From that point, you enjoy the energy savings of solar panels with no continuing costs. 

If you choose to lease solar equipment, you must continue to pay as long as you have the solar panels.

Although leasing solar panels may cost less upfront, the buying option provides more long-term cost savings. Upfront costs of buying solar panels may include:

  • Installation costs
  • Solar inverter costs
  • Home improvement costs
  • Inspection fees

Tax Incentives

State and federal tax credits and incentive programs reward homeowners for choosing a renewable energy source. Still, you can only take advantage of these cost savings if you own your solar equipment. Solar leases provide a clean energy source to your household, but the company that owns the solar equipment reaps the tax benefits. 

If you want to take advantage of federal, state, or local tax credits, you may purchase your solar panels outright rather than lease them from a solar company. 

Maintenance 

So far, purchasing solar panels provides more benefits than leasing, but one excellent advantage of a solar lease is the lack of maintenance. If you lease solar equipment, you leave the ongoing solar panel care to the solar company, so you don’t have to worry about inspecting or monitoring the system. If you decide to lease solar equipment, read the contract carefully to determine what the solar company will and won’t do to keep your system working well. 

Unlike leasees, if you own your panels, you take responsibility for identifying and resolving equipment problems. Luckily, maintaining solar panels isn’t as challenging as it sounds, as solar equipment is relatively low-maintenance. 

Home Sale

Homeowners looking to sell their homes can significantly increase their home values by purchasing solar equipment. Homes with solar panels tend to sell faster than homes without them, and they sell for higher prices. 

However, homeowners who leased their solar panels may face difficulty when trying to sell their homes. The homeowner must transfer the leasing contract to the new owner to remove the solar panel costs. Finding a buyer willing to take over the contract may take time and effort. 

Solar Panel Options

Buying solar panels presents more technology options because the homeowner chooses the type of panels they want and the company they want to work with. Some solar panel companies offer several brands of solar panels, allowing the buyer to choose the best one for their budget and energy needs. 

On the other hand, a solar leasing company may only offer one type of solar panel. You may not have a choice in what brand of solar technology you get. 

Why Lease Solar Panels?

Although buying solar panels usually presents the better option in the long term, not all homeowners will benefit from buying instead of leasing. You may decide to lease solar equipment if any of the following apply to you:

  • Ineligible for the federal tax credit 
  • Ineligible for solar renewable energy credits (SRECs)
  • Ineligible for a solar loan 

If you can’t afford to purchase a solar system outright, that doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of this renewable energy source and the potential energy cost savings. A solar lease may present your best option due to the low upfront costs. 

Get Affordable Solar Panel Installation with PES Solar

Let PES Solar take care of your installation if you decide to purchase solar panels after considering the buy vs. lease solar panel debate. We install top solar brands, including Tesla, REC, Silfab, and QCells. We have the experience to install your new solar system and the financing solutions you need to afford your solar project.

Another method for getting solar power is buying a home with solar panels already installed. Learn about the advantages and disadvantages of purchasing a home with a pre-existing solar system.

Schedule a consultation with PES Solar today to discuss your solar installation. You can schedule with us online or call us at 800-650-6519.