Do you want solar panels? You can get them

Solar panels have become a practical and profitable investment, and a lot of people would like to get them.  But the majority of Americans are unaware of  the alternatives to an outright purchase of solar panels.  In fact, solar panels can be obtained with little or no upfront investment.

The following are some of the alternative methods to get solar panels on your roof, producing electricity for your house:

Solar panel leasing.  Several companies specialize in leasing solar panels (A listing of the major solar panel leasing companies is displayed under the Solar Leasing Companies tab on this website).  Two types of solar panel leases are available.  An operating lease is the most common.

In an operating lease, the solar panel leasing company (frequently known as the third party) installs the solar panel system at its expense and retains ownership of the panels for the life of the lease.  Any maintenance costs, and hopefully they’ll be minimal, may be the responsibility of either the homeowner or the solar leasing company.

The second type of solar energy system lease is a capital lease or lease-purchase.  In this lease arrangement, the homeowner agrees to purchase the solar panel system at the end of the lease for a price negotiated upfront.  As a result, the homeowner is considered the owner of the system and receives all tax benefits and/or local incentives.

The attractiveness of leasing solar panels can be understood by this fact:  frequently, the monthly lease payments will be less than the amount saved each month from lower utility bills.  Perhaps unsurprisingly, third party-owned solar energy systems have increased from none of the residential market five years ago to as much as 63% of all new installations in California and almost 80% in Colorado.

Solar panel financing.  Another alternative is to finance the purchase of a solar panel system.  This alternative would mean making the monthly payments to a lender.  The homeowner would receive all tax benefits and/or local incentives.   And, again, the monthly payment to the lender could be less than the amount saved each month from lower utility bills.

Solar panels can be a smart and profitable investment.  It makes sense to check out the possibilities.

For more information, see the article in Mother Earth News.

About the Author

Mark H. Witte is a strong proponent for energy efficiency and renewable energy, and believes individuals should have more control over how the energy for their homes is produced.