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Purchasing Solar – Solar Lease, Borrow or Buy?

If you are thinking abut solar for your home or business, you might be thinking, –should I get a solar lease, borrow or buy?

Before you commit to a solar system for your home or business, talk to Cinnamon Energy Systems – Silicon Valley’s Premier Solar and Energy Storage Contractor. We’ll give you the straight scoop about the technology, financing and overall process of installing a system — and we’ll answer your questions honestly.

Solar Lease or PPA May Not Be Your Best Option

You’ll be surprised at how much you can save compared to a solar lease. When you pay for your system up-front or get a no money down solar bank loan, after a four to eight year payback period you will enjoy the full benefits of free electricity. But if you obtain a solar lease, you are contractually obligated to continue lease payments for 15+ years. Over the life of your system this lease commitment can cost you $40,000 or more. Or you may pay $0.12 to $0.20 per kWh with a PPA (Power Purchase Agreement). Moreover, many leases and PPAs have payment escalation clauses as high as 2.9% — so your monthly payments could go up FASTER than your actual electricity costs. Ouch! It’s much better to own your system: paybacks are 5-10 years and you will generate electricity for 25 years at a locked-in rate of $0.06 to $0.09 per kwh.

Instead of a solar lease or PPA, a much better option is to borrow the money for your system, either with a home equity loan or special solar loan. Another option is a PACE loan, which stands for Property Assessed Clean Energy. With a PACE loan your solar loan payments are included in your annual (or semi-annual) property tax payments. That way when you sell your house you won’t have to pay off the remaining ridiculously high solar lease payments, or convince the new owner to take over your solar lease.

Consider Your Options

At Cinnamon Solar we’ll help you understand the economic benefits of solar without any monkey business. The graph below shows the cash flows for a typical system with three scenarios: cash, solar lease or borrow (same as PACE).

The solar leasing companies don’t want you to see your real costs for electricity, including your 15+ year lease payments and escalations. Although the solar lease option saves you a little bit of net cash in the first few years, it is very clear that a solar lease is much more expensive in the medium and long term. For a typical 5,000 watt system in Silicon Valley, the total electricity costs over 25 years are $92,000; with a solar lease, the total costs are $82,000; with a solar bank loan the total costs are $42,000, and with a cash purchase the total costs are $39,000. Basically, with today’s low solar prices, leasing is a bad deal!

Cinnamon Energy Systems Makes Solar Easy!

Whether you lease, borrow or buy, going solar with Cinnamon Energy Systems is easy. The first step is to determine if solar is right for your home.

  • Do you own your home?
  • Do you pay too much for electricity? (Your average monthly electric bill is $150 or more)
  • Does your roof have minimal shade?

If you answered “Yes” to all these questions, you are ready to go solar. It’s pretty painless. Give us a call at 408-883-7000 to discuss, or fill out the form on this page, and we’ll contact you.

Why Go Solar with Cinnamon Energy Systems?

  • We are a local residential solar company with a heritage of over 10,000 solar customers
  • All equipment is unconditionally guaranteed for 25 years
  • We use safe rooftop electrical equipment so you don’t have to worry about dangerous high voltage DC wiring on your house
  • Custom-designed systems start at $7,000, so there’s no need to sign a complicated, long-term (15+ years) financing contract
  • We’ll give you dozens of local references from happy customers going back to 2001

Certifications and Qualifications

  • California C-46 (solar) and C-10 (electrical) contractor #976065
  • NABCEP engineering
  • Bonded and insured
  • California Solar Energy Industries Association
  • Solar Energy Industries Association

To request a free quote, please complete this form or give us a call at 408-883-7000.

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