The Future of Solar Leasing and Sunpower

Take it or leave it, a solar lease has become more than just an option to generate electricity autonomously for home-owners. Leasing solar energy enables the installation of photovoltaic (PV) systems and the expensive upfront cost normally associated with solar power installation.

The SunPower Foundation Advantage

Leasing provider SunPower Corporation designs as well as manufactures crystalline silicon PV cells, solar panels, and roof tiles using silicon for the all-back contact of their solar cells (which were invented at Stanford University in California).

Perhaps the advantage of SunPower Corporation over its competitors is their SunPower Foundation™ which has undoubtedly given the company more consumer exposure and patronage than all the PR campaigns of their competitors put together.

This foundation of SunPower Corporation is a non-profit which was set up to fund non-profits that help promote solar power usage, develop and distribute education tools applicable for solar power, and provide employees, partners, and clients with possible opportunities to support solar power as community-based initiatives.

More Trend than Fad

This emulation of the common utility model for electricity rental has made solar leasing more trend than fad, a fact that has companies such as SolarCity to provide clean and green energy for the use not only of homeowners but businesses, non-profits, schools, and even government organisations as well.

With over 5,000 employees today, SolarCity has become the largest provider of solar power panels in the U.S. from its establishment in July of 2006 by the Rive brothers Lyndon and Peter based on their cousin Elon Musk’s concept. A year after it began operations, the company began its ascent to become California’s leading provider of solar power in 2007.

Reduced Solar Panel Prices Give Rise to Solar Leasing

Reasons such as U.S. Federal Government incentives, stabilised solar panel prices, and increasing interest in the solar market have all helped solar power gain momentum. Be that as it may, consumers are now faced with a dilemma which could have the same impact on their electricity bills as the earlier decision to go solar once did: to solar lease or to buy solar power?

One advantage of solar lease is the consumer’s assurance of durable performance during the entire time of the lease, without repair and maintenance costs. Consumers are also able to check how much power their solar panels are able to produce with an online monitoring system which they can opt to install.

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Options for Consumers After the Lease Expires

SolarCity builds its solar systems to lease out to homeowners and building owners on which these are installed. Based on a long-term lease agreement, the company will create a business model for the client.

This kind of lease is typical from most providers, including SolarCity, and may cover 20 years; this agreement gives the consumer several options: renewal once the previous agreement has expired, removal of the system or purchasing the same at a fair market price.

Leasing Does Not Entitle Consumers to RECs, Rebates or Incentives

Solar lease all boils down to monetary savings, its biggest incentive being the reduced amount a consumer pays. Another benefit is the non-maintenance aspect of the system for the period of the agreement since the consumer is not the system’s owner.

This non-ownership status results in a downside, though, because there will be no Renewable Energy Certificates or RECs, rebates or incentives given to the consumer; these will be given to the lease providers such as SunPower Corporation instead.

The Author

Motivated and dynamic journalist with a strong interest in sustainable solar powered technology. My work in journalism and new media has provided me with a medium to produce content concerning emerging renewable energy.

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