In the last few years, companies have started offering solar for 0 down, and while there are some things a consumer needs to keep in mind when reading through a lease, this can represent a fast way to get clean energy into the home. For the most part, everyone wins in this situation, except for the IRS, and it is similar to taking out a loan on a car or a house. This part of the industry is growing quickly, and even Google has gotten into the act and has invested $280 million in sun panel leasing.
Instead of buying the solar panels outright, customers can decide to lease out the technology and get solar for 0 down. Ownership of the panels can cost quite a bit upfront, and is usually only an option for homeowners that have some cash to spare. This has been the traditional route for those looking for green power and it’s still a viable option for many. Leasing, though, requires little or nothing upfront, though a homeowner can pay a hefty down payment to reduce monthly charges.
In effect, it is a pay for use situation, and the installing company effectively owns the panels. They are responsible for maintenance on the unit and will remove it once the terms of the lease expire. Those that opt for solar for 0 down will have to pay a little more every month, but can get started with the technology right away. The monthly costs of operating the equipment are stable, so a homeowner can accurately predict his or her utility bills into the future.
For many, this may sound like a scam. After all, if it costs thousands to own, how can an installer remain profitable by just giving away the equipment and getting by on monthly payments? The installer has a number of ways to mitigate the cost of the materials, and has proprietary deals with manufacturers that slash a significant amount off of the purchasing cost. In addition, because the installer owns the panels, they are the ones in line to receive the tax breaks and state and federal incentives that come with the technology. This can save them thousands, and makes it cost effective to offer solar for 0 down.
While this program is an ideal way to get a photovoltaic unit up and running quickly and with minimum fuss, there are some things to keep in mind. For one, not every homeowner’s association is okay with the panels being installed, so check with them before moving forward. It’s also important that a homeowner finds the best lease terms possible, because some companies increase monthly payments over time, which can be a little tricky for someone to handle down the road. Fortunately, not all solar for 0 down leases have these escalating terms, so keep an eye out for them. Finally, if the home is going to be sold in the near future, anyone who will be buying the house will need to be okay with the panels, and will need to be amenable to taking over the lease, or the seller will need to keep up with payments.