What’s cheaper than buying and maintaining solar panels for your house? Leasing. Alteris Renewables has teamed up with two solar leasing companies in Massachusetts and Connecticut to provide solar installations to more residents.
Alteris Renewables, formerly SolarWrights and Solar Works, are partnering with SunRun and Connecticut (CT) Solar Lease to provide solar installations to residents for a lot less than $30,000. Although tax incentives and energy rebates might be nice, they don’t pay the upfront cost of purchasing and installing solar installations.
What both of these leasing programs do is allow homeowners who would not be able to pay the upfront costs to lease solar installations from one of the appropriate leasing company in their state. SunRun charges a $1,000 down payment, CT Solar Lease does not. Both have monthly leasing plans for people interested in going solar.
The two leasing options do differ in some significant ways. For example SunRun provides a “performance guarantee”. That performance guarantee means that residents who aren’t getting the promised power from their installed system, get their money back. CT Solar Lease doesn’t off such a guarantee.
SunRun also has three other advantages not offered by CT Solar Lease. SunRun provides insurance for the solar installation while CT Solar Lease will help residents put it on their own homeowners insurance at whatever additional cost that might be.
Another advantage is that SunRun takes care of all maintenance, repair and cleaning of the solar panels and other components of the installation. The final advantage is SunRun’s professional monitoring of each solar system installed to make sure that it is producing the energy it should.
CT Solar Lease has a “Solar Dividends” program. That program allows leasees to receive a “portion of the value CT Solar can achieve from the sale of environmental attributes based on the electricity produced by the system.”
Both SunRun and CT Solar Lease use outside installers to install the solar panels and other equipment required. The solar installation is also hooked up to the grid for times when solar power is not adequate or for excess solar power to be fed back into the grid for more savings or even a little cash back from your local utility.
SunRun’s contract is for 18 years while CT Solar Lease’s contract is for 15 with an option to extend or purchase the system at then current value. In both cases the tax incentives go to the leasing companies which allows the companies to charge lower monthly payments.
Right now the only States in the Northeast that have leasing programs are Massachusetts and Connecticut. Other states that offer leasing options through SunRun for solar installations are California and Arizona.
Somehow the South and the Heartland don’t have lease options whether through state specific leasing programs like Connecticut’s or multistate companies like SunRun.
As with the choice to buy or rent a house, there are pros and cons that need to be evaluated. For those that have the option to lease, it provides a method of using renewable energy without high upfront costs. For those that don’t have that option, why not start a leasing company of your own or see if SunRun is interested in branching out to your community.