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Hi everyone,
I'm considering leasing vs. buying right now. I have a consultation from Solar City on Monday and when considering leasing it's unclear to me the exact difference between leasing vs. PPA.
Can someone who's up on this wax me on the difference?

Thanks in advance
 

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I can't answer your question, but for me leasing solar was not considered. Here in CA an outfit named Marengo Solar hawked leased installations for several years. Where are they now? Bankrupt (I read) At low interest rates today buying is a good choice. Solar and L2 are a terrific combo...and the house is worth more.
 

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I don't understand the appeal of leasing a system at all. Solar isn't difficult. Install it yourself with an Enphase, SolarRidge, and SolarWorld system or pay someone to do it if you are not comfortable and reap all the rewards yourself. Best of luck to you. I never considered leasing in any fashion. If financing your system, interest rates are low. Take advantage of that instead of financing through a leasing company.
 

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I don't know that much about PPAs but I do know that, like everything, the decision will depend on the numbers. What is the cost per kWh to you and what could you sell it for if you're net metering. Makes a difference. I bought mine and took the tax credit. Simple.

Whatever way you decide to go, look at the impacts on selling. One issue with leasing is that if you want to sell your house the lease for the solar may complicate the financing. No idea about PPAs. Something you should find more about.
 

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Just like with cars, leasing is a personal choice and can be a good option for some, not right for others. We would have concern long term for any solar company other than Solar City. One of the reasons we leased was a hope/expectation that the company would be around to service the system should anything go wrong. In the 4 years we have had our system, we have had both inverters changed. From what I can tell, that would have been $5000+ incl labor. We have a 20 year prepaid lease, so short of out right buying the system, that was cheapest option. They also offered no down and you wind up paying the savings difference to them instead of electric company, but that would have been quite a bit more in the long run. This is likely where the PPA is pushed. We also couldn't buy and get the tax break ourselves due to not enough taxable income. Prepay also removes any issues if selling the home as the new owners wouldn't have to make payments for example.

All that said, figured most solar systems are getting cheaper by the day and most are going to want the actual roof to be the panels in the coming years instead of on top of existing roof. In north Texas, we have to change the whole roofs pretty often due to hail. The last hail didn't even phase our panels, but certainly caused damage to uncovered part of roof.
 

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Just like with cars, leasing is a personal choice and can be a good option for some, not right for others. We would have concern long term for any solar company other than Solar City. One of the reasons we leased was a hope/expectation that the company would be around to service the system should anything go wrong. In the 4 years we have had our system, we have had both inverters changed. From what I can tell, that would have been $5000+ incl labor. We have a 20 year prepaid lease, so short of out right buying the system, that was cheapest option. They also offered no down and you wind up paying the savings difference to them instead of electric company, but that would have been quite a bit more in the long run. This is likely where the PPA is pushed. We also couldn't buy and get the tax break ourselves due to not enough taxable income. Prepay also removes any issues if selling the home as the new owners wouldn't have to make payments for example.

All that said, figured most solar systems are getting cheaper by the day and most are going to want the actual roof to be the panels in the coming years instead of on top of existing roof. In north Texas, we have to change the whole roofs pretty often due to hail. The last hail didn't even phase our panels, but certainly caused damage to uncovered part of roof.
Sorry about having to have your inverters replaced. This is where a quality design really comes into play. I always recommend the following to anybody considering solar. Enphase Mirco Inverters (even in the unlikely event one fails, eveything else still works, you only lose one panel's production) Ironridge rails, and Solarworld Panels. These items pretty much eliminate any problems and ensures a lifetime of trouble free production. There simply isn't much that can go wrong with solar when done correctly.

Also, when available (when it is an option that you are OK with), I always recommend NOT putting them on your roof
 

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i just recently read an article that said if yo can afford to buy it you should. also, some things people don't understnd- solar leasing companies are not putting up the best panels available- also, if they put up a 21 kwH system you only get the benefit of about 14 kwH- the company is keeping the extra (how else do you think they are staying in business). i bought mine (before leasing was even an option) and couldn't be happier! also- if you don't stay in your house for the duration of the lease you have to hope the future owners want to keep paying your lease- and some aren't even transferrable.
 

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I agree that better materials could be likely had.. I was part of a solar home tour a few months ago. I had my electric car at someone's home where he had purchased. We were able to provide both sides to people who came by.. He was able to buy his for about what we paid (pre-paid 20 year lease). That said, we are talking about 3 years newer than our system. Again, do you want to invest a lot in a system that can loose it's value quickly because a better system can be done cheaper in a year? I do suggest pre-pay the lease if you do choose to lease. They add value to the home better if you own them or they don't cost the new owner monthly. We actually had a gas lease bonus given to us before the rates dropped. We turned that bonus into solar. Didn't cost us anything in reality. While I don't know what will happen in 20 years, I think it is safe to say they aren't going to come get the panels at the 20 year mark at the rate things are advancing. Even if they do, will go to shingles that are solar at that point (if not before).

There is no wrong choice other than NOT getting solar. Do your homework. The sooner you get them, the better for you, others, earth, etc..
 
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