Solar Lease – Does it help with resale?

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We get this question a lot throughout the year…”I was talking to a company about a Solar Lease.  Is it worth it?  How would that effect the sale of my home in the future?”

When we get questions like this, we are always so thankful that our clients reach out to us before making any decisions.  When it comes to your home, it is likely one of the most expensive assets that you own, and we want to help you preserve it’s value.  That’s why we always encourage our clients, friends, and family to reach out to us if they ever have any questions about their home.  We are always happy to help.

So, is it worth it?  As most of these questions go…it depends.  Here are some major points to consider when you are deciding on a solar lease.  

LEASE! 

I put this in bold caps because agreeing to a Solar LEASE, is a commitment.  It is a commitment that you will have to “sell” with your home. 

What do I mean by that?  A potential buyer looks at your home to see if it fits their needs and wants.  If it does and it is priced right, they will likely make an offer.  When the home has a solar lease, then they have to look at the terms of that lease and the usage etc…to determine if that is a good deal for them also.

Let’s say that you like to keep your A/C at 64 degrees and you spend $350/mo on electricity.  Then you get a solar lease and you save $75 per month ($275/mo for the solar lease).  This looks like a great savings for you.  But if you are using more than the average homeowner in electricity, what looks like a nice savings for you, could be a very expensive lease for the next owner.  i.e. your payment is fixed, even if your electricity bill goes down.

We don’t claim to know exactly how the solar lease companies decide on the lease amount for each home.  We are concerned that if a solar lease company looks at your average bill, then “finds” your savings off that amount, you might be paying too much for electricity. 

Savings 

This is typically the first reason someone looks at the option of solar.  Certainly we want to move towards cleaner energy, but that has to fall in line with our budget.  We would recommend that you look at the overall savings of the lease over your current payment considering the information from above. 

Also, consider all of the options to save on electricity.  What is the SEER rating of your A/C unit?  Are you using LED bulbs?  Have you checked all windows and doors to ensure they are properly sealed?

How much would these upgrades save you annually and how long would it take to get a return on these costs?

After considering these items, it might be good to go back to the solar company and compare how much they can save you with a leased system if you were able to reduce your monthly bill by $10-$20/mo or more by making other corrections.

Green Living

Solar energy is green energy.  For many people the idea that they are contributing to a better environment for the future is all that they need to know.  The “cost” of staying with less green resources for energy might be greater than they are willing to live with.  In this case a Solar Lease would be a great option.  The lease would allow you to start living green with little to no upfront cost.  And for many, that is the best savings of all.