Install Residential Solar Panels with No Money Down

Renewable energy, Solar power — By Stephanie on February 27, 2011 at 6:18 am

Just the other day, I received a flyer in the mailbox about installing residential solar panels with no money down.

Sure, it might sound like a scam on first blush, but more and more companies are offering solar panel leases that allow you to do just that.  Without having to invest in the equipment, or even pay for installation, you can lease solar panels instead.

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Solar power without the massive investment

How does this work?  Well, every contract is different and you’ll want to carefully review its contents before signing and committing yourself to a 15- or 20-year solar lease, but in general, the basics include:

  • No or little money down to enter the contract
  • The solar panel company owns the panels during the life of the lease and usually installs and maintains them as well
  • Each month, you pay pursuant to the terms of the lease – you are in effect paying for solar power, which costs less than your grid-based electricity
  • Insurance is usually covered by the solar panel company
  • You get consistent, predictable power, without worry over rate increases
  • You may be able to purchase the panels at the end of the lease for a reduced rate

SolarCity (featured in the video above) is a U.S.-based company that offers solar panel leases for homeowners nationwide that allow those that could not otherwise afford the alternative energy option to go solar!  You’ll want to make sure that you live in a state with tax credits and other incentives for clean energy, however.  Currently, you can look into a solar lease if your home is in Arizona, California, Colorado, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, or Washington DC.  Look for additional states to offer credits in the coming months, so that companies like SolarCity can offer solar panel leases to people across the entire nation!

Depending on the terms of your solar panel lease, you may still be able to retain the 30% federal tax credit for a solar panel installation.  Check with the company offering the lease, and see if you can save even more!

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  1. Before you sign a lease, check into your local zoning and permit laws. Depending where you live it sounds like it can be quite a hassle to get permission:
    Here’s a good overview of the problems some people are having to get zoning approval for home solar:

  2. malene says:

    there is currently a federal law in effect that prohibits cities or HOA’s from not allowing solar panels.

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