You’ve decided that you want to use clean energy but don’t know how to acquire a solar system on a limited budget. That leaves you with some options such as taking out a loan to buy a solar system, renting solar panels or subscribing to solar power as a service. Buying a system means that you will own the panels – you get tax breaks and can take your panels with you even when you move to another house.
If you lease or rent solar panels, your provider owns the system – they get the tax breaks and can take the panels back if you default on your monthly solar subscription payments. A solar lease is also different from a solar rental scheme although both would be considered as solar power as a service. A lease involves long term contracts that can tie you down to monthly payments for years.
Companies like Tesla offer solar power as a service via a subscription scheme. Renting without long-term contracts make environment-friendly energy more accessible to average homeowners. The cost of solar panels has been a barrier for many people from acquiring clean energy. A solar rental subscription has comparable benefits over a solar lease, owning, or purchasing solar systems.
When you rent solar panels from Tesla for example, you have an option to pay as low as $50 a month which includes free installation and maintenance without a long-term contract. Owning solar panels on the other hand involves shelling out $10,000 to $30,000, maintenance bills and installation charges. Meanwhile, a solar lease cannot be cancelled before its contract term is over.
With a short-term rental scheme, a solar subscription can be cancelled at any time without paying a termination fee. The panels will be deactivated but may stay on your roof so you can reactivate them again in the future. The provider may also dismantled the panels from your roof. Customers may be charged hundreds of dollar to have panels removed and if you factor in roof repairs, the cost of solar system removal may amount to over a thousand dollars.
Typically, those who want to rent solar panels are required to own the home where the system will be installed. Aside from owning the home, subscribers also need to be ratepayers of accredited utility companies in the states or cities where the subscriptions are offered. If you sell your home, your solar rental agreement and the panels may have to be transferred to the new homeowner.
In the case of Tesla’s solar power as a service, subscribers are given a choice between three subscription plans: the Small, Medium, and Large packages that cost $50, $100, and $150 per month respectively. Rates for long-term solar lease plans with other companies can cost up to $250 per month, which is out of reach for average consumers.
A Small 3.8kW subscription generates 10 to 14kWh of power; the 7.6kW Medium package generates 19 to 28kWh, and the Large 11.4kW plan yields 29 to 41kWh per day. An average American home typically consumes 28kWh of electricity each day. A solar rental provider can help you define the ideal solar subscription plan for your household. Some providers will let you upsized or downsized your subscription plan at any time.
A solar subscription can save you hundreds of dollars each year while you help the environment as well. For example, if you were to rent solar panels in California for $65 per month, you can generate $1000 to $1400 worth of electricity annually. That puts your savings at $250 to $650 per year.
You can maximize your rented solar panels further if you add a lithium-ion battery to your system. Solar system batteries also serve as backup power at night or during power outages. It’s perfect for off-grid use in remote places not serviced by utility companies.
By renting solar power as a service, homeowners get the best from the sun’s energy – clean, affordable energy to power your home and even your electric vehicle – without the pricey upfront cost of solar panels nor decades long solar lease agreements.
Solar rental schemes are offered online and providers make it easier for customers to avail of the service without lengthy consultations, background checks and stacks of paperwork. Some providers allow payments for solar subscriptions online while other companies accept cash payments during the installation itself.
A good solar rental provider should process necessary permits and design the solar system layout. Tesla’s engineering team use remote, high definition aerial imagery to configure the layout for their subscribers’ homes. Smartphone photos may also be requested. Tesla solar subscribers can also monitor their systems in real-time through a smartphone app.
In the future, anyone should be able to benefit from solar power as a service. A solar rental subscription can keep cash in your pocket just like a typical solar lease, but without the commitment of a long-term contract.