Residential solar leasing lands in Colorado

SOlar panelsWhen I began researching solar for our home in June of 2009, I immediately was attracted to the idea of a solar lease.

editor's blog logoThe lease allows you to go solar withtout the big upfront costs of buying a system and, supposedly, allows you to keep your electric bill at the same level you’re paying now. And, you lock in your electric rate for a decade or more.

Unfortunately, leasing wasn’t available in Colorado this past summer. From talking to several solar consultants during the summer, I got the impression that solar leasing wouldn’t be coming to Colorado for a year or more.

In fact, solar leasing’s arrived in Colorado much more quickly than I thought. It’s here, right now.

SunRun — which has been offering solar leasing in California and Arizona for quite awhile — sent me an e-mail about 10 days ago announcing that it’s offering solar leasing to customers in Colorado.

They followed up with a phone call. (I’d indicated interest in solar leasing back in July — which is why I got an e-mail and a phone call).

I had to tell them that we elected to buy a system. I know in the long run that buying a system is a better bet financially than leasing.

But, we’re really having to scramble to find the cash to pay up-front for our system. In fact, we may have to borrow some money to cover some of it.

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While I’m very happy with REC Solar and the customer service we’ve gotten from them, and, generally, I’m very excited that we’re going to have our own system, if I’d known solar leasing would come so quickly to Colorado when I began researching solar in June 2009, I think we might have waited to see what SunRun, SolarCity, etc. could offer us.

I’m guessing that we wouldn’t have as much flexibility in terms of the size system we’d like to have, but I could be wrong. And, of course, we’re having a lot of trouble with Xcel energy right now due to its so-called 120-percent rule — even though we are buying a system outright.

In any case, it’s great news that solar leasing is available in Colorado. If you’re interested in going solar, but the big upfront cost is too much for you — and you live in Colorado, California, Arizona, Connecticut, Minnesota or Hawaii (I could be missing a state that has solar leasing here — I have’t been able to find a news article/web site that officially lists states in which solar leasing is available) — I’d definitely recommend looking into solar leasing.

I know we would have looked into solar leasing back in June 2009 — if it had been available in Colorado then.

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