Most recently, we have received questions regarding if is better to lease or buy solar panels or solar energy. We’ve been in the solar industry for 5 years and as a solar energy broker company we can be really imparcial when it comes to recommendations about one or another type of company, since we represent most of the mayor players in Central Florida.
If you ask a homeowner that went solar… he is most likely going to recommend what he choose and fill up with arguments that sustain his decision. If it works for him doesn’t mean it will work for you for many reasons: roof shape, radiation rates, shade rates, personal credit score, and most important: the representative.
Your solar representative is what makes the real difference because we have seen really good and really bad experiences from the same company. It’s commonly related with how ethic and professional the solar specialist is.
If you want to compare leasing vrs purchase there are a series of questions that can probably guide you understanding better this decision. Remember there is not wrong or right product, it’s just what better meets your specific needs and expectations.
Here are some examples:
– how long are you planing to live in the house?
– do you prefer large corporates or small local companies?
– how big is your monthly average bill?
– are you planing to increase/reduce your energy consumption over time?
– what is the total average utility rate on a year long period in your area (cents per kilowatt hour)
– are you looking for coverage on power outages? (Battery back ups or energy storage)
– how do you plan to access solar energy: is it buying cash or financing or government program or get approved for a lease?
– If lease or financing? How good is your credit score, your income and/or your debt to income ratio?
– what is the condition of the existing roof? How long will last?
– what is the average forecast increase of energy in your area?
– what are the product warranties? Production or degradation panel warranties? Installation and labor warranties? What are the roof penetration and leaking warranties you are getting into? Is it good?
– what is the price per watt you are buying or leasing?
– If doing leasing: what is the rate escalator and out contract fees?
– if doing loan: what is the loan term and interest rate? Is it a revolving credit, is there prepayment penalties? Can you pay to principal?
Regarding the tax credit, please make a call with your CPA or accountant before making any decision on your estimate expected solar payment, before and after the tax credit.
– Is the solar system main inverter system or a micro inverter system?
– what is exactly the percentage to offset from your utility bill, is it in writing ?
– If you are getting more than 10 to 11 kilowatts, most likely you may need to show your home insurance with a liability coverage of up to 1 million dollars (not always) but it depends the utility.
– what are the cancelation terms and conditions?
– how do you get notify on every step of the process and what is the estimated completion of the proyect? 2 months? 4 months? Very important. Is it in written?
– Does the representative has a proven record of solar protects sold and install? Usually the companies does. But does he?
And of course all the question regarding the technology on the panels:
– are they mono-crystalline or polycrystalline (monos are better)? What is the module efficiency 18% or 23% (if is more than 21% you are fine)? Degradation rates.
– Is the monitoring included?
The install company is important but in our opinion it is usually more important (and more difficult) to find an honest and profesional solar representative that is able to illustrate pros and cons on each type of contract or service you are getting into.
If you want to hear more go to www.gocleverenergy.com
and book a consultation, we will gladly help you with your decision inbetween lease or buy solar panels.