Solar energy companies are setting up shop in home improvement stores around the country, eager to make their products available to the average homeowner. But how much does it cost to install solar panels, and can you save money by purchasing the panels yourself? Keep reading to learn about your options when it comes to buying and leasing or financing solar panel systems.
Understanding the Two Options
When it comes to making the switch to solar energy, you have two primary options. One option is to buy the solar panels yourself and to either pay someone to install them or do that yourself as well. The second option is to go through a solar power company and to lease or finance the panels. Here’s what you need to know about both of these options:
- Buying Solar Panels – When you purchase your solar panels you can shop around for a good deal, but you’ll have to cover the entire cost upfront, including the cost of installation. You will own the panels, but that means you’ll be responsible for repairs and maintenance.
- Leasing Solar Panels – When you lease solar panels, they will technically be owned by the solar power company, and you’ll be paying a monthly fee to use them. You’ll get a locked-in rate and probably won’t have to pay extra for installation or maintenance.
So, who is the ideal customer for purchasing solar panels outright? If you are a homeowner or business who has enough money to make a significant upfront investment and you want to take advantage of tax credits, purchasing solar panels might be the right choice. You must also consider, however, that unless you are qualified to make the installation yourself, you’ll have to pay extra for that as well. Keep in mind that you might also be responsible for maintenance and repair fees over the lifetime of your system.
If you are interested in making the switch to cleaner, more affordable energy and you don’t have a lot of money to invest right away, leasing solar panels is the better choice. You might not qualify for tax credits, but you might be able to lock in a low energy rate, and you might not have to pay extra for installation. Most solar power companies maintain their panels at no cost to the homeowner, and you can start saving on your energy bills right away. The downside is that you’ll have to pay a monthly fee for the panels and at the end of your lease you might have to pay extra to upgrade the panels.
How Do You Make the Right Choice?
The fact of the matter is that the right choice might not be the same for every homeowner. To decide whether you want to buy or lease your solar panels, you have to think about your financial goals. It isn’t enough to say that you want to save money on your electric bill every month – you have to think about solar panels as a long-term investment. If your goal is to spend less money overall and you have a lot of cash up front, purchasing the solar panels outright might be a good decision. This might also be the right choice if there are investment tax credits or clean energy credits available at the time. If you want to limit your upfront costs, minimize hassle, and don’t want to start saving money right away, leasing from a solar power company might be the best choice for you.
Making the switch to solar energy is not a decision that should be taken lightly. Yes, it is a great move for the environment and might also save you money on your electric bill, but it is a more complicated process than many people realize. Even if you are confident that you want to make the switch, take your time and research your options thoroughly when it comes to deciding between buying or leasing your solar panels.