Solar Panels for Rent

Massachusetts homeowners can now lease solar panels

Massachusetts homeowners can now lease solar panels

Residential solar panels – generally a hefty $25,000 or more to install – can now be leased for a fraction of the cost in Massachusetts.

Sun Run has entered the solar lease business in the Bay state, the first company to do so. Now homeowners can pay an up-front fee of $1,000, sign up for an 18-year long-term lease (similar to signing up for cable TV) and have solar panels installed on their roofs. Homeowners will likely make back their investment within 7 years or less and, by locking in the rate they pay for electricity generated, will save on future bills as well.

SunRun owns the solar panels but partners with local installers like Alteris Renewables and groSolar in Massachusetts. Homeowners who sign up to lease their panels don’t have to worry about upkeep or breakage. If a panel breaks, it’s replaced at no extra charge.  Homeowners also don’t have to worry about details like tying the panels in to the electric grid or applying for the rebates and subsidies as the companies gets the state and federal subsidies (it owns the panels).

But homeowners do have some perks and options. When they move, they can transfer their solar agreement to the new homeowner, buy out the contract, or purchase the panels.

Governor Deval Patrick is hoping “solar as a service” will help Massachussetts reach an ambitious goal of getting 250 megawatts of solar power by 2017.  Currently the state has $68 million available for solar electricity rebates between 2008 and 2011.