New solar leasing programs in the Northeast make solar affordable

April 22, 2009

New solar leasing programs in the Northeast make solar affordable 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.

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4 Responses to “New solar leasing programs in the Northeast make solar affordable”

  1. Gregory:

    You are so right, a solar lease program is designed to make the solar conversion to clean energy a simple and affordable way for the masses to participate in a solution to help minimize the environmental destruction, and dependence on fossil fuel driven power plants. In this economy most homeowners are just trying to get by, they want to do something to change our carbon footprint, but the investment of $25,000 and even after all the rebates and write offs they may only pay about $11,000 for the system. Then factor in the maintance and repair cost of a system, the purchase option to a new solar customer may seem a bit of a stretch. A new solar customer should have the option to test drive the technology before investing and a solar lease offers just that. Technology changes so fast these days, many of the systems being purchased today may be obsolete in 10 years, remember all of those giant cable satellite dishes, or the block sized cell phones, and I can go on and on, the point is sometimes it is better to find a way to enjoy the technology during its ‘evolution stage without having to invest the farm. The main mission is to bring the clean energy of solar to the masses with a program that will work for them now, not wait until they can afford to purchase and who cares if a homeowner buys or leases? What we desire is a clean environment, and the reduction the BP oils spills and the coal mining accidents. Ohhh, by the way there is a solar lease program that you can lease with the option to buy in six years, they have two of the best leasing programs in the nation, you can get a free solar quote and compare before you decide. Read about it: Either you are part of the problem, or part of the solution.

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