Do you shake your head when you open the electric bill each month? Are you concerned about global warming and the damaging effects of relying on fossil fuels for energy? The chance to save money and help the environment are two major reasons many Orange County residents switch to solar.
Maybe you’ve been considering the possibility for a while now, but you can’t decide which financing option is best for you. Consider the benefits of leasing solar panels in Orange County, NY and these useful tips to ensure you’re happy with the commitment before you sign on the dotted line.
What is Solar Leasing?
Many solar installers offer the option of leasing solar panels in Orange County, NY. Essentially, your home acts as a site for electricity production while the solar company retains full ownership of the panels themselves. You pay an affordable monthly rate and in return, you get to use the energy produced by the solar panels.
Your monthly rate remains the same regardless of how energy production and electricity rates fluctuate. Each year, the rate increases slightly, but since electricity rates are almost always on the rise, you can still expect to save money in the long run.
Benefits of Leasing Solar Panels in Orange County, NY
It’s true that leasing solar panels in Orange County, NY provides less of a financial return than purchasing the panels upfront, but if you’re looking for a hassle-free, no-money-down way to switch to solar, leasing is a great option. The benefits include:
- $0 down: The biggest reason to sign a solar lease is the chance to have solar panels installed for nothing upfront. The ability to dodge the initial cost of installing solar panels opens the door for many more Orange County residents to utilize this green energy solution.
- No ownership responsibilities: When you purchase solar panels or receive financing through a loan, you assume full ownership and everything that comes with it. This means you’re responsible for maintaining your solar array and paying for any necessary repairs. With a solar lease, your liability is limited to loan payments. As long as you continue to pay your solar company each month, maintenance and repairs are free. Just call the company if something goes wrong and technicians will hurry over to make it right.
- Remain immune from rising energy costs: New York electricity rates have remained fairly steady for the past four or five years, but rates are about one-third higher than the average price across the US. The chance to pay a more affordable lease rate in place of energy bills keeps your monthly expenses lower for years to come.
- Enjoy options at the end of the lease period: Once the 15- to 20-year lease agreement is up, you typically have three options: you can extend the lease if you’re happy with the way things are, you can purchase the solar panels for their residual value, or you can terminate the agreement if you no longer want solar panels. Knowing you have these options when you sign the lease agreement gives you peace of mind and lets you customize your solar experience once the time comes to act on one of these options.
- Join the clean energy movement: It feels good to do something beneficial for the environment, and leasing solar panels in Orange County, NY lets you go green with $0 down. It doesn’t get any better than that.
Useful Tips for Leasing Solar Panels in Orange County, NY
Once you decide a solar lease is the best option for your situation, don’t rush too quickly into the agreement. Make sure it’s everything you expect by following these tips:
- Research the solar company you want to work with: Solar leases are common in the industry and most installers offer them. This means you don’t need to settle for the first company you come across that offers solar leases. To ensure you receive professional, reputable service, research the credentials, license number, experience and track record of the company you want to work with.
- Read the contract: It’s easy to get excited and merely skim through the contract, but you’re about to sign something that will affect you for the next 15 to 20 years. Ask the solar company if you can bring the contract home so you can take your time reading it thoroughly. If you come across any questions, write them down so you can ask the solar company for answers. Remember, any verbal guarantees the solar company gives may not hold up if it’s not also written in the contract.
- Ask for pricing details: One of the biggest lures of going solar is the chance to save money. Make sure that’s what you can realistically expect by asking the solar company to break down the pricing terms. This includes outlining what the flat monthly rate will be, what the rate increase is each year and any other charges you might owe. Make sure these details are in the contract and not simply agreed upon verbally.
- Double check maintenance and repair terms: By their very nature, solar leases should include free maintenance repairs from the solar company, but make sure this is the case before you sign the contract.
- Look into tax credits, rebates and refunds: If you decide to purchase your panels outright or take out a loan, you are entitled to lucrative tax credits, rebates, net metering and other incentives. Since a solar lease leaves ownership in the hands of the solar company, you may not be entitled to these benefits if you receive this type of financing. Ask for details from your solar company before you move forward with the agreement.
- Find out what happens to your lease if you move: Once installed, solar panels become part of your home, so you need to find out what will happen if you end up moving in the next 15 to 20 years. In most cases, you have two options: you can either transfer the lease to the new homeowner or bring your solar panels with you. Your options depend on what the homebuyer wants and where you’re relocating to.
Beginning the switch to solar is easy, especially once you know what financing method you want to use. Simply talk over your options with a qualified solar installer in Orange County to ensure you make the most beneficial decision for your needs.