6 Things to Consider Before Getting Solar Panels | My Money | US News

Getting solar Panels

Solar Panels / March 2, 2016

Purchasing a solar panel system with cash, or financing a purchase with a solar loan, is your best option when you…

  • Want to maximize the financial benefits of installing a solar panel system, rather than solely benefitting from the system’s environmental benefits;
  • Are eligible to reduce your federal and state tax liability through the federal investment tax credit;
  • Are a business, and can realize tax benefits by treating the solar panel system as a depreciable asset; and/or
  • Want to increase the market value of your home by installing a solar panel system.

A solar lease/PPA is your best option when you…

  • Are primarily interested in using electricity generated from renewable resources, rather than maximizing the financial benefits of installing a solar panel system;
  • Want to avoid the responsibility of maintenance or repairs for a solar panel system;
  • Are ineligible for federal or state investment tax credits resulting from your investment in a solar panel system; and/or
  • Do not want to wait until the following year to receive the financial benefits of tax credits.

Compare and contrast: buying and leasing solar

There are practical differences in cost, maintenance, terms, opportunities for financial offsets, and savings/returns on investment, depending on the financing decision that you make.

Installation cost

Solar loan/cash purchase

  • Solar power systems can cost $15, 000 to $30, 000 before rebates and incentives.
  • Cash rebates can reduce the total cost by up to 50 percent. Most solar installers will manage the paperwork and adjust the purchase price to reflect the net amount.

Solar lease/PPA

  • You can get a solar energy system for little or no money down.
  • You don’t qualify for tax credits, rebates, or incentives – those belong to the third party owner of the system.


  • You own the system and are responsible for maintaining it. Note that solar equipment is durable and carries warrantees, so you won’t have much maintenance to worry about.
  • Your purchase may not include an app to track your system’s performance.
  • The solar company owns and maintains the solar power system.
  • Most leases include free apps that track the performance of your system.

Source: www.energysage.com