Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Solar Leasing & Solar PPAs — Some of the More Hidden Benefits

Last time I wrote on the popularity of going solar through a service (i.e. solar leasing or going solar through a PPA), someone from Sunrun (a leading solar service company) got in touch with me and we had a nice back-and-forth about more of the details of going solar through Sunrun. I’ve been meaning to come back to writing a post about that since then.

Basically, the discussion centered around some of the more hidden benefits of going solar through solar leasing or PPAs — in particular, for those who can afford it, going with a prepaid solar service vs. owning a system.

One big benefit of going with a prepaid solar service is that companies like Sunrun are sometimes eligible for subsidies that individuals/households are not eligible for. So, the overall cut in cost can be greater than going solar on your own. Policies vary from location to location and for people in different tax situations, so, as always, it’s worth getting as much info as you can on different solar options before deciding on the option that’s best for you.

Another somewhat hidden benefit is that people going solar through a third party generally don’t have to worry about maintenance of the system because the third party will often cover maintenance and monitoring of the system for the entire 20-year contract of the lease or PPA.

Many inverters are not guaranteed for 20 years and will die before that time. Under a 20-year solar leasing or PPA contract, Sunrun would notice the inverter failure through monitoring of the system and would replace it without charging the homeowner an extra dime.

Some nice benefits. It’s no wonder about 70% of households going solar in California are now going solar through such third-party solar services.

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