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Old 08-23-2012, 11:39 AM
 
510 posts, read 1,587,027 times
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Neighbor just did this with a 20 year lease. No up front cost, just a lease amount from the solar company and a small electric bill to pay monthly from our electric company. I think and hope for his sake it is less then the initial electric bill?? Anynone doing this and how has it worked out for you?
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Old 08-27-2012, 07:05 PM
 
Location: Fort Washington, MD
671 posts, read 1,306,610 times
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This method will save you money. The problem is that you just signed yourself to a contract in which someone else is profiting off of your real estate for 20 years. If you have no capital and plan on living there for all 20 years then this is great. Otherwise, consider the following:

(1) If you plan on living in your place for 10 years or less, then it is not cost feasible to buy a solar panel system nor would it make sense to lease solar panels.

(2) If you have liquid assets and you plan on living for 10 years or more, then you should just buy your own solar panel system. They are expensive, yes, but with enough research you can find wholesale suppliers selling panels for a great price. The Federal government until 2016 (or even sooner) will compensate any solar project with a 30% tax credit. Your state and local jurisdiction may also have additional benefits.

A reasonable hypothetical: My state of Maryland offers $1000-$1500 in tax credit and my county offers about $5000. All of these credit stack, meaning my project is severely discounted. Hypothetically, let's say my project in total costs $25,000. After 30% off it is $17,500. After $1500 off it is $16,000. After another $5000 it is $11,000. Still expensive, but if you think about the $100-$200 dollars in electricity costs you save every month for just 10 years it is $12,000-$24,000 in savings.
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Old 09-03-2012, 05:35 PM
 
Location: Went around the corner & now I'm lost!!!!
1,550 posts, read 3,076,738 times
Reputation: 1219
Quote:
Originally Posted by molukai View Post
This method will save you money. The problem is that you just signed yourself to a contract in which someone else is profiting off of your real estate for 20 years. If you have no capital and plan on living there for all 20 years then this is great. Otherwise, consider the following:

(1) If you plan on living in your place for 10 years or less, then it is not cost feasible to buy a solar panel system nor would it make sense to lease solar panels.

(2) If you have liquid assets and you plan on living for 10 years or more, then you should just buy your own solar panel system. They are expensive, yes, but with enough research you can find wholesale suppliers selling panels for a great price. The Federal government until 2016 (or even sooner) will compensate any solar project with a 30% tax credit. Your state and local jurisdiction may also have additional benefits.

A reasonable hypothetical: My state of Maryland offers $1000-$1500 in tax credit and my county offers about $5000. All of these credit stack, meaning my project is severely discounted. Hypothetically, let's say my project in total costs $25,000. After 30% off it is $17,500. After $1500 off it is $16,000. After another $5000 it is $11,000. Still expensive, but if you think about the $100-$200 dollars in electricity costs you save every month for just 10 years it is $12,000-$24,000 in savings.
I didn't understand the cost benefit of leased solar panels either. Buying them would add 20% value to the home... so why lease? I had a company come out and look at my roof and the total cost after the two rebates will be about 4 to 5K. Sounds kind of low but I live in a state that supports renewable energies and has plenty of sunshine. I am looking into replacing the roof also because I was told it is at least 10 years old. With the replacment of the roofing will be an additional 5K. I'm buying; not leasing and definitely waiting on the rebates to come around next Spring..

Now I did find out that the local electric companies can buy back energy your solar system produces BUT you have to have a special meter installed at your home at your expense...have to look into the cost of that as of yet.
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Old 09-07-2012, 05:25 PM
 
Location: Bend Or.
1,126 posts, read 2,459,035 times
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In some situations leasing does make sense, but like anything, you have to do your homework. Future cost of elecricity is one thing you are locking in. Buying from a wholesaler is possible, But then who is going to install them? most states and localities require the use of a licensed or approved installer. It is said that the panels will add value to the home, but there are reports out that this may not be happening. A survey of Real estate firms showed most homes were not recieving the extra value claimed.

Power companies are usually required to buy back excess production, but that is not a level playing field either. Many sell at a much higher rate than the buyback rate. Having said that, Does it make sense to put up PV panels? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. (In my opinion) We have been looking at it for a number of years in Colorado, where we have plenty of sunshine, and decent rebates. Could not make it work. But we are designing a new home in Central Oregon, and they are in the plan.

Here is a good place to start: DSIRE: Database of Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy Solar Incentives, Rebates, Programs, Policy
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Old 09-09-2012, 08:51 AM
 
39,480 posts, read 40,796,345 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whirnot View Post

Power companies are usually required to buy back excess production, but that is not a level playing field either. Many sell at a much higher rate than the buyback rate.
It's a level playing field. If they are paying you what they charge for it they are losing money because they still have expenses for infrastructure. You are essentially a wholesale electric producer, why would they pay a homeowner more than what they get it for elsewhere on the market?
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Old 09-09-2012, 02:32 PM
 
Location: the Beaver State
6,467 posts, read 11,554,187 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eyewrist View Post
Now I did find out that the local electric companies can buy back energy your solar system produces BUT you have to have a special meter installed at your home at your expense...have to look into the cost of that as of yet.
The meter itself is fairly cheap to expensive depending on the model and what features you want (such as real time web tracking and historical analytics,) but the bulk of price is usually the cost of having a licensed electrician hook it up.
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Old 09-09-2012, 03:08 PM
 
3,764 posts, read 7,474,562 times
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So they must be leasing the control charger, inverter, battery banks & battery bank storage box too, right?
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Old 09-11-2012, 03:11 PM
 
Location: Bend Or.
1,126 posts, read 2,459,035 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thecoalman View Post
It's a level playing field. If they are paying you what they charge for it they are losing money because they still have expenses for infrastructure. You are essentially a wholesale electric producer, why would they pay a homeowner more than what they get it for elsewhere on the market?

Not quite, some of the Larger suppliers will let you use credits up to a year, essentially buying back at the same rate. Some of these are Pacific Power, PG&E, and Excel energy. They pay their infrastructure costs with a set amount they have budgetted from all customers for alternative Sources.

Smaller, Not for profit suppliers, such as REA's, may credit you "for cost of avoidance" or basically credit you at the end of each month for the amount of your use over your production.
If you produce more than you use, they may credit it in cash amounts that set a current rate.

There are Net Metering laws in most states, but not specific to make everything the same. This makes the payback issue very different in differnet locations, and can actually make a large difference across the street, depending on the supplier.

The good news is the companies with less lucrative buybacks typically have lower rates.
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Old 09-18-2012, 08:26 AM
 
670 posts, read 1,024,015 times
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Are you kidding me? Solar panels are dirt cheap now can get a 7 KW system for like 15 grand then take all the tax write offs!
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Old 12-31-2012, 10:43 AM
 
Location: Went around the corner & now I'm lost!!!!
1,550 posts, read 3,076,738 times
Reputation: 1219
Quote:
Originally Posted by whirnot View Post
In some situations leasing does make sense, but like anything, you have to do your homework. Future cost of elecricity is one thing you are locking in. Buying from a wholesaler is possible, But then who is going to install them? most states and localities require the use of a licensed or approved installer. It is said that the panels will add value to the home, but there are reports out that this may not be happening. A survey of Real estate firms showed most homes were not recieving the extra value claimed.

Power companies are usually required to buy back excess production, but that is not a level playing field either. Many sell at a much higher rate than the buyback rate. Having said that, Does it make sense to put up PV panels? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. (In my opinion) We have been looking at it for a number of years in Colorado, where we have plenty of sunshine, and decent rebates. Could not make it work. But we are designing a new home in Central Oregon, and they are in the plan.

Here is a good place to start: DSIRE: Database of Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy Solar Incentives, Rebates, Programs, Policy
Did a little research on this. It hard to get straight talk from any of these solar companies unless YOU ask the right questions and ask for more detailed clarification; they don't just GIVE it to you, you must keep asking question after question before you arrive at the "real deal' they are offering you. The guy I was talking to kept telling me "What I am telling you is pretty straight forward." But I told him, "But you are not telling me the 'straight' truth."

This is what I found out from the company I called. To lease you must have a 700 credit score in order for them to install for $0 payment down. The lease is for 20 years; once they are installed they are NOT removed. So all of us over the age of 45 would be paying for this until your 65 years old.(oops, shouldn't have open your eyes to this fact.) If you sell the home before the 20 years, the new owner takes over the lease. BUT if the new owner does not have a 700 credit, YOU are still responsible for the lease.

Now you have the option of buying the panel at a minimum cost of 20K or lease at 15K...............That's only a $5000 difference! He went on to explain that the cost saving on the electric would be about 10 % or 20% ( i.e. if your electric is $100, you will pay $80 or $90 dollars instead) which you pay them directly... Not much of a saving right?

Well, what they are doing is pimping YOUR roof for THEIR benefit. They harvest the energy and since it is their equipment I am sure they get the rebates not you, but I failed to ask this question so I am not 100% sure. THEY get paid buy the electric company and YOU pay them for the use of YOUR ROOF with a 10% to 20% discount on your electric bill...that's the bottom line folks.

Hope this was enlightening for you; it was for me.
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