Solar system financing comparison chart

The cost of installing a solar electric system depends on whether you purchase the system outright or enter into a leasing agreement. This chart will help you examine your options in order to choose the financing method that best fits your needs.

Case Purchase Lease
System ownership You own the system. The leasing company owns the system installed on your property. At the end of the lease term you may have the option to renew your lease, purchase the system, or remove the system.
Monthly payments You will have monthly payments if you purchase your system using a conventional bank loan. Depending on the loan, interest may be deductible on your taxes. You will have a monthly lease payment. Most solar leases contain yearly escalation throughout the term of your lease. Over a long-term lease, these yearly increases can result in your initial lease payment increasing substantially.
System operation and maintenance You are responsible for system operation and maintenance. However, your contractor may offer this service in your contract as part of the purchase price. Either the leasing company or you may be responsible for various operation and maintenance practices as outlined in the leasing contract.
Selling your property The system is considered part of your property's value. Under a lease, you must either buy-out the remaining balance of the lease or transfer the lease to the individual purchasing your property. Transferring the lease is contingent on the new buyer's credit score and their willingness to accept the transfer. Leasing companies may also require that you get their written consent before you sell your property.
State tax credit You are eligible for the tax credit benefits as the system owner. The leasing company retains all of the tax credit benefits as the system owner.
Federal tax credit You are eligible for the tax credit benefits as the system owner. The leasing company retains all of the tax credit benefits as the system owner.