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Solar Energy 101 – Purchase, Lease or Loan – Finding the Right Solar Option for You!

January 27, 2020

Solar panel systems bring many advantages including reducing your electric bill and protecting you against rising utility costs. Solar on your home can increase your property value and produces clean energy which also helps to protect the environment. Most importantly, with the falling costs of equipment and accessible financing solutions, solar is affordable!

Purchase, Lease or Loan?

Your financial goals will help you decide whether you should own your solar panel system or lease it. Here are some differences between owning and leasing:

Ownership: If you buy a solar panel system, either outright (if purchasing with cash) or repaying within a solar loan, benefits include being eligible to reduce your federal tax liability through the federal investment tax credit and increasing the market value of your property.

Leasing: This would be a good option if you are more interested in using electricity generated from renewable energy resources instead of gaining financial benefits from installing a solar array, and you can avoid the responsibility of the maintenance  accumulated from solar panel system installation.

Choosing either financial solution impacts the cost, maintenance, terms, financial offsets, and savings/returns on investment of your solar panel system.


Solar loans/cash purchase costs will vary. Solar power systems can cost on average between $15,000 to $30,000 before rebates and incentives. Cash rebates can reduce that total cost by up to 50 percent. Most solar installers, including Sunsense, will manage the paperwork and carry the rebates which will adjust the purchase price to reflect the net amount. With solar leases, you can get a solar energy system for little or no money down, but you will not qualify for tax credits, rebates, or incentives.


When you own the system, you are responsible for maintaining it. Solar equipment is extremely durable and carries warranties, so you won’t have much to worry about. If the solar leasing company owns the system, then they maintain it. Most solar systems include free apps that track the performance of your system.

Solar Loans

Solar loans are generally available for 10 to 20 year terms, with interest rates ranging from 3 to 8 percent if you have a FICO score of 640 or above. Solar leases are generally for 20 to 25 years, with the option of later being able to renew your agreement or purchase your system outright.


Solar loans can save you between 40 and 70 percent on electricity costs over the lifetime of your solar panel system, depending on your property, the cost of energy and the incentives in your state. Plus, you receive free electricity for the life of the solar energy system; which is usually 25 to 30 years.

Solar leases can save you between 10 and 30 percent off the prices you pay your utility company for electricity, also depending on your property and the incentives in your state.

Go Solar

Before you make a decision on buying or leasing your solar power system, explore all of the solar financing options available to you.

If you are ready to consider solar and/or have any questions, contact a Sunsense consultant at 970-963-1420 or email

If you know of anyone who you think would like to go solar, fill out our Referral form. If the referral leads to a signed contract, you will receive $250! It pays to go solar!

Tatiana DeJiacomo
Marketing Associate