Solar Power for Your Home, Rent vs. Own: Which is the Best Option for Me?

Posted by David Feldberg on Thursday, December 8th, 2016 at 2:09pm.

Considering that well over 3 million California homes have already converted to solar power, it’s safe to say that Californians understand the allure of renewable energy alternatives. But when it comes time to make the solar plunge, should a homeowner take on the financial obligation of purchasing a complete system for their home, or is leasing solar panels a better way to go? Home Improvement Leads is here to help you navigate the benefits of each option so you can know which will work best for your family.

Perks of Renting

If you are balking at the hefty $25,000 average price tag that comes with purchasing a residential photovoltaic system, then renting may be the perfect solution for you. Most companies give you the option of little to no upfront expenses by spacing out the installation cost over the life of the lease. Similarly, once you sign on the dotted line, you’ve locked in your utility expenses for the next 20 years, freeing you from the ever fluctuating energy prices.

Perhaps the best reason to opt for renting, though, is the flexibility it gives you as a homeowner. Not everyone is ready to commit to staying in the same city for the next several decades, let alone the same house. Leasing gives you the freedom to move without feeling like you’ve lost any of your investment. Plus, if you do end up staying in your home and love your solar panels, then most companies will let you purchase your system at the end of the lease, too.

Perks of Owning

It used to be that solar panels and equipment were far too expensive for the average homeowner to ever be able to afford, but the passing of the Solar Investment Tax Credit—which provides a 30 percent tax rebate on a complete solar installation—has helped to increase competition enough to slice prices almost in half over the past eight years. The federal government isn’t the only one trying to help homeowners go solar. Local municipalities and the state of California also have their own incentive programs, too. In many cases, the overall cost of a solar renovation can be cut in half.

Not only will your renovation budget be drastically reduced, but so will your monthly utility bills. In many instances, homeowners are even able to make money off their excess energy production at various points throughout the year. Between the lowered financial commitment and saved monthly expenses, many homeowners have seen their system pay for itself in less than 10 years. Considering most solar panels are still in peak condition for over 25 years, a homeowner is potentially looking at decades worth of free energy.

Which is Best for You?

When it comes down to it, renting or buying your solar system will come down to personal preference. Both will end up saving you money on your monthly utility bills, though owning the system outright will definitely end up saving you more over the long run. Before making your final decision, run the numbers through a solar calculator so you can have a realistic expectation for what a home solar system could do for your family.

Whether you choose to rent or own, converting to solar power is always a wise investment for any homeowner.

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