Q&A with the Solar team: Should I buy or lease solar?

Q&A with the Solar Team features Energy Trust’s responses to common questions from customers. Have a question you’d like to know our take on? Send it to the Solar team and it could be included in the next issue of Insider.

Q: What is the best options for me: buying or leasing solar panels?
A: The decision about how to finance a solar system depends on your customer’s financial situation and goals. Everyone’s goals are different, so the right financing option is different for each family. Here are some of the points we raise when talking to customers about their options for financing solar.

Your may want to buy solar panels with cash or a loan if you:

  • Want to maximize the financial return of installing solar.
  • Pay federal and state taxes and could benefit from lowering your tax payments.
  • Have at least $10,000 in cash or can take out a loan to pay for the system.
  • Are a business and can realize tax benefits through treating the system as a depreciable asset.
  • Are comfortable taking responsibility for maintenance of your system, which is minimal.

You may want to lease solar panels if you:

  • Don’t want responsibility for maintenance or repairs, though maintenance is minimal.
  • Don’t want to make a cash investment to buy the system outright.
  • Don’t pay enough in federal or state taxes to benefit from solar tax credits.
  • Don‘t want to wait until the following year to receive the benefits of tax credits.
  • Have a credit score above 700.

While you may have a vested interest in a customer choosing the kind of financing solution you offer, keep in mind that some customers may only be able to install solar though a cash purchase or a lease, given their circumstances. The best thing you can do is equip customers with the information to help them realize their goals of going solar.