Solar Equipment: Own vs. Rent Solar Equipment: Own vs. Rent

You’ve finally made the decision to have a more energy efficient home by using solar power. Now you have another decision to make. What is the best way to have solar equipment installed in your home? Should you buy the solar equipment, or is renting a better option?

The answer is really dependent on your individual situation. The decision to rent or buy really comes down to your specific needs and how much money you are able to spend upfront or over time. Both renting and buying solar equipment have benefits and risks. While buying can offer immediate savings and tax credits, it requires a substantial upfront cost, which can be difficult for some. On the other hand, renting does save you from the upfront costs, but with the only immediate savings coming from a fixed rate payment for your energy needs.

Before you rush to make a decision in your eagerness to have a more energy efficient home, learn more about your options.

Renting Solar Equipment

Like any choice, there are always pros and cons to weigh. Renting solar equipment for a more energy efficient home is no different.

The Pros

With this option there is no upfront cost, but there also is no instant savings. However, if you are looking to keep your power bill at a fixed rate, rather than the escalating market price of conventional energy, then this option may be the way to go.

Renting can be an extremely beneficial option if you are in a low income situation, as many of the renting options allow you to get solar equipment with little or no upfront costs. Some agreements also allow you the option of buying the set up later at a discounted rate, much like a leasing option.

It may also be the wiser decision to rent your system if you are not looking to keep up with required maintenance on the gear, as most rental options include maintenance and repairs in the contract. This means you can enjoy the benefits of an energy efficient home without a lot of the work and stress involved with maintenance and repairs.

Another benefit of renting your solar equipment is that when you rent the gear from a reputable company, it can boost your overall credit score.

The Cons

Renting does have some real drawbacks to consider. The most apparent of these drawbacks is the lack of tax incentive that comes with buying the system upfront, which can be up to 30-percent of the cost of the purchase.

There are also some rental programs that have an escalation schedule, which means your power rates may still rise over designated periods of time.

Buying Solar Equipment

When buying your solar equipment for a more energy efficient home, there are a many things to consider.

The Pros

When you choose to purchase your system outright, you earn up to 30-percent of the purchase price back in tax incentives.

Additionally, you get the ability to earn solar renewable energy certificates, which enable you to sell energy to the market. This means your investment won’t only save you on monthly energy costs, but it can bring in a profit if you sell unused energy.

Another big benefit of buying is that it raises the overall value of your home, as many savvy homebuyers will see your home as a worthwhile investment.

The Cons

The overall upfront cost of purchasing the equipment and having it installed can be a big expense, ranging anywhere from $10,000 to $25,000.

You also have to perform all maintenance and upkeep on your unit if you purchase it, or you have to hire a professional to come to your home and perform repairs and upkeep regularly. This can be taxing and quite expensive, as certain parts (like the converter) will have to be replaced within 10-15 years, which will add an additional expense comparable to what your upfront costs were.

Final Thoughts

It seems that either way you look at it, solar power has a great many benefits, and deciding to install solar equipment can be a smart decision toward a more energy efficient home. So, the question really comes down to which option is more affordable for your circumstances.

On one hand, if you can afford the upfront cost and handle doing the maintenance yourself, buying may be the right choice. However, if the cost of the solar equipment has become the most deciding factor in your decision, then renting may be the better option.

For those in a more restrictive economic situation, renting offers a way to have a more energy efficient home and go green without spending all your green. While it may not offer all of the savings and incentives involved with buying, renting does offer homeowners a way to keep their energy costs down while still enjoying the benefits of an energy efficient home.

Either choice offers benefits and drawbacks, but the more informed you are as a homeowner, the easier the decision will become.

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