Going Solar: Owning vs. Leasing

In a world in which the average person will see 5,000 ads a day, the word “free” can trigger a frenzy. “Free” can make consumers click on ads, forget to read the fine print, and sign up for things we may later regret. When it comes to solar, some of the biggest companies in the industry have no issues with taking advantage of homeowners through promoting their solar panels as a free, money saving machine. At first glance, these promotions might seem appealing, but the majority of these companies won’t advertise that their latest and greatest promos are actually for solar leasing deals. This simply means that the homeowner doesn’t actually own their panels. At Blue Raven Solar, we know that the advantages of solar ownership far outweigh the somewhat misleading advantages of the “free” leasing options (which is why we only offer ownership deals). In today’s post, we’ll explain why all homeowners shouldn’t think twice about owning their solar system and how Blue Raven Solar is the best ownership company in the nation!

Ok So What’s the Difference Between Leasing and Owning?

When it comes to putting solar on a roof, there are really only two options for residential homeowners: leasing or ownership deals. Leasing deals, which are also known as power purchase agreements (PPAs), allow homeowners to get solar on their roofs without putting down a penny. With no upfront costs and no installation fees, you might be thinking: what’s the catch? Well, just like leasing a car or renting a home your monthly payments won’t actually go towards owning or paying off the panels. This means that the solar company that installs the panels will be the official owner and use the homeowner’s monthly payments to pay off the panels. In most cases, these monthly payments will be less than the homeowner’s original electricity bill, so the homeowner should be saving around $10-$30 a month by choosing a leasing deal. All in all, leasing deals could technically be considered free, but they won’t save homeowners substantial money over the system’s lifetime.

The other option for homeowners considering solar are ownership deals. Within these deals, homeowners have the option to pay for their systems out of pocket or take out a loan to slowly cover the cost of the panels. While most companies offer ownership deals for $0 down and no installation fees, some homeowners are turned off by the concept of paying tens of thousands of dollars for a product that will save them a few thousand dollars a year. In the short term, owning solar may seem like a lopsided deal, but in the long run the numbers always prove that owning solar is a more economic option for homeowners.

Why Owning Always Means More Savings

Despite their initial benefits, leasing solar panels comes with some major downsides. When a homeowner leases solar panels, they don’t actually own the panels nor the power that they create. The solar company holds the rights to the panels and sells back the energy that they create to the homeowner at a fixed rate (that almost always include price escalators throughout the PPA contract). To make things even worse, most solar companies project savings rates for leased systems without accounting for expected increases in their rates. This means that their projections are inaccurate, and like monopolized utility companies, their rates will likely increase by more than 1% every year. With that being said, these “free” deals also leave homeowners high and dry because the solar company gains all of the benefits of owning solar panels. Homeowners with leased panels will never see the savings from local, state, or federal incentives. When a homeowner chooses to go solar with a PPA or lease deal, they are really just switching their utility provider to a solar company that could be more expensive in the long run. 

As you can see, leasing solar just isn’t the way to go. Homeowners who skip the PPA and leasing deals are able to own their panels, which has three massive benefits:

  • Solar panel ownership allows homeowners to benefit from all local, state, and national clean energy incentives. For example, the government offers a federal investment tax credit that allows eligible tax paying homeowners to receive a tax credit worth 26% of the cost of all the solar expenditures. This incentive can help homeowners save thousands on the cost of their overall system, making it significantly easier to pay off in the long run (unfortunately, this tax credit will drop to 22% next year so hurry and get the ball rolling)!
  • With a proper design, a high-quality solar system is meant to cover all the electricity costs every single month. Thus, the majority of homeowners who own their panels have a monthly power bill that only includes a small $5-10 connection fee. This fee allows customers to stay connected to the grid in case their panels underperform or stop functioning, and also allows homeowners to participate in local net metering programs. Net metering gives solar owners the ability to sell back unused electricity to their utilities company for energy credits that can be used during less sunny months. In some states, homeowners with solar can make money off of excess energy, making solar an extremely valuable home improvement.
  • Homeowners who own their panels increase the value of their homes by 4-10% depending on the local real estate market. As improvements in solar technology have improved efficiency and lifespan, many new homeowners are eager to invest in solar. A home that has a solar system that is paid off is more marketable and valuable to the latest generation of home buyers.

In the end, homeowners who own their panels will almost always end up saving more money than those who choose to lease. A lease deal saves a typical American Family about $30 a month (without accounting for an escalation in electricity rates). That means that over the course of a system’s projected 25-year lifespan, a family would save around a maximum of $9,000. Homeowners who choose to purchase and own their panels are able to save a lot more. Typically, the average system takes anywhere from 6-10 years to pay off. If a homeowner’s average electricity bill is $120 a month and they have their system paid off after 8 years, they will end up saving $24,500 dollars over the course of the panel’s lifespan. To make things even better, the higher the homeowner’s electricity bill, the more they will save!

Why Blue Raven Solar is the Best American Solar Company

At Blue Raven Solar, we only provide ownership deals, which means we don’t compete with our customers to monetize tax credits and then sell large bundles of PPA contracts to institutional investors. It also means our customers get the most value out of their solar panels. We also understand that not every homeowner has $20,000 to $30,000 dollars to invest in a solar system, which is why it is our mission to make solar affordable for more homeowners. Our team of highly experienced solar specialists help our customers understand how our financing programs work and help them take advantage of any local, state, or national solar incentives. What sets us even further apart from the competition is our BluePower Plus+ financing program. If a customer is unable to pay the entire cost of the solar panels from the get-go, we have set up a financing program where we cover our customer’s first 18 months of loan payments. Yes, you read that right! Each month our customers receive a check that they can use to cover the entirety of their monthly solar loan payment. This means that homeowners will save thousands in their first year and a half of owning their solar panels, which will help them pay for a large portion of their system. By combining the 18 months of solar loan payments with the huge savings opportunity from the Federal Income Tax Credit (ITC) and other local incentives, Blue Raven customers can have more than 33% of the overall cost of their system paid without having to put a dollar of their own money down.

Blue Raven Solar doesn’t stop with just BluePower Plus+, we also guarantee world class service throughout the solar journey. Unlike many other solar companies that only have sales teams or just installation crews, Blue Raven Solar is a full-service solar company. This means that Blue Raven Solar has sales representatives, solar system designers, installers, and customer service employees who are all part of the same team working together to give our customers the best solar experience possible! Our qualified teams work hard to get panels installed and energized quickly, so homeowners who choose Blue Raven Solar can sit back and relax as we take care of every aspect of their new solar system. Even after a system is installed, the customer is still a part of the Blue Raven Family. For example, if a system doesn’t live up to our projections, our energy production guarantees will kick in, and we’ll provide the necessary solar panels to get that system to the numbers we originally proposed. Also, all our panels come with a 25-year warranty and each solar system includes a workmanship warranty that covers any chance of defects or errors made during the installation process.  All in all, we do our very best to make each and every customer happy throughout their entire solar journey.

Own Your Panels Today!

Through BluePower Plus+ and the wonderful Blue Raven Solar Team, owning solar panels has never been easier! If you’d like to join thousands of satisfied homeowners in saving money, increasing the value of your home, and helping preserve our planet, fill out a form on our get a quote page. Shortly after pressing submit, you’ll hear from a solar specialist who will help set up a free solar proposal, which will allow you to determine whether solar is right for you.

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