Direct ownership, either cash or financed, gives clients a tangible product. Once the modules are installed on the owner’s roof, they belong to the client; not a 3rd party company. The homeowner gets to receive all of the benefits of the solar array.
In a leasing scenario, modules are installed and an agreement is signed for a period of time that the modules will be on the roof (the life of the system). During this time, the customer is given a lease option (for equal or less than their current electricity bill) to buy energy from the 3rd party company.
The energy is purchased in year one and subsequent years with a rate escalator around 2.9%. This means that during the life of the system, the customer’s initial payment for solar electricity will increase over time, and ultimately could cost the consumer as much as they were paying prior to integrating solar.
Customers who choose a leasing option are not eligible for the valuable tax credits that often make a solar system much more appetizing to the consumer. The leasing organization gets to take advantage of the sunshine on the customer’s roof, resulting in very little benefit to the actual consumer.
On the other hand, a cash purchase or small affordable loan option, allows the customer to own their solar system outright and reap the many benefits of solar at their residence.