Solar leasing is projected to boost the solar energy sector with the government slowing down on its stance on feed-in-tariff for solar systems. Photovoltaic companies are now introducing solar lease products into the Australian market with the aim of removing the upfront costs that discourage homeowners and businesses from converting to solar energy.
According to Green Cross Australia, a member of the environmental group Green Cross International Network, leasing allows consumers to go solar without paying upfront costs. The arrangement calls for the provider to lease the solar panel, put it on the roof of the consumer, who in turn pays the company back much like in a traditional energy bill. This arrangement has become possible because the prices of solar panels have dropped in the past few years.
While Australia has 1 million households with solar rooftops, Green Cross Australia believes that the country has the potential to increase that number. Its CEO, Mara Bun, says that this is possible with the high level of solarity of Australia. She adds that solar leasing arrangement will even make the dream of more Australians benefiting from solar energy.
Other companies are also cashing in on the increased interest of Australians to try solar energy. A California-based company that specialises in solar lease, Sungevity, reports the good reception of its ‘nothing up front’ PV systems offerings since it entered the Australian market in the last quarter of 2012. Partnering with Nick Lake, a New South Wales based installer who is now its Managing Director; Sungevity has expanded its seven-year loan product with a 15-year leasing arrangement.
Trina Solar, a leading manufacturer of PV systems, has also introduced a solar lease arrangement through its subsidiary firm Lightleasing. The scheme will be rolled out by Infinity Solar installer for Lightleasing and Trina Solar. According to Infinity Solar group director Chris Thomson, removal of the upfront costs will enable customers to install a superior PV system that dramatically reduces their energy bills.
Other companies are also partnering with financial institutions for the solar leasing arrangements. Last month, Brisbane installer Ingenero announced that it is partnering with Thorn Money for its Energy Access solar lease program. Thorn Money is a company that extends personal and commercial financing like rental for household goods.
SunPower of California, meanwhile, is offering a high-cost and high-efficiency solar lease product in partnership with another financial institution, the Community First Credit unit. The product is offered at a financing of up to $35,000 over duration of 10 years.