I recently had a buyers agent tell me that their client LOVED my listing, however would not consider purchasing a home with leased solar panels. It became very apparent that both the buyer and the agent did not understand that leased solar panels are a buyers bonus! I myself am selling a home with leased solar panels and have first hand evidence of 35% savings on our energy bills. Let me bust some myths about buying a home with leased solar panels:
- Many believe that the cost of the lease offsets any savings on your utility bills. NOT TRUE! As an example, lets look at my bills. I pay $110 per month to Solar City for the lease. My SRP bills range from 0 in the winter months, up to about $285 in the hottest summer months on a 4100 square foot home. Prior to solar panels, our bills were about $160 a month in the winter months and about $560 in the hottest summer months. And, for those months when we are using no energy from the grid, we are actually selling energy back and being credited for that energy against future bills. Leased solar panels are truly a buyers bonus!
- The maintenance of the panels is an added responsibility for the buyer. NOT TRUE! Solar City maintains the solar panels AND the roof on which the panels sit! They monitor the performance of the equipment remotely and will be in contact if there is a change that need to be addressed. We literally NEVER think about our solar panels except for when our bill comes and we celebrate how financially clever we are!
- You can’t sell a home with leased solar panels. Well, in the case of the buyer who passed up a home they love because of leased solar panels, that would be sort of true. However, at least with Solar City leases, a transfer concierge service is offered that makes the lease transfer super smooth and easy. While the solar company does do a credit check on the buyer, if credit is a problem, they will charge a on-time $250 fee to bypass the credit requirement. Could it be an issue with the lender debt to income formula? Perhaps, if someone is so close to the margins, that additional $110 bill may be a concern, even though overall the utility bill will be lower.
- The increase in lease payments will eventually diminish the savings to make it no longer cost effective to lease the panels. NOT TRUE! While the lease payments will raise slightly each year, they will never exceed the rate at which SRP and APS raise rates on a yearly basis. So, the fact that you are using less of the ever increasing, more expensive energy from your utility company will always mean that energy you pay for through your lease will be more cost effective.
It is true that there is a lot of confusion around the solar energy issue in Arizona. Don’t let a poorly managed message cost you an opportunity for real cost savings.