American Solar Electric (ASE) has joined SolarCity in offering a leasing program for residential customers. The upfront cost of going solar has been a major roadblock (sunblock?) for households wanting to install rooftop PV systems. The price of a typical residential array starts at around $20,000 and ranges up to $50,000 depending on the amount of electricity produced.
Phoenix-based ASE works with SunRun, a solar leasing company in California started in 2007. In November 2008, SunRun announced that US Bancorp had committed $105 million to the company’s growth.
Fireitup will report on the details of the lease when we receive a copy, but according to ASE and SunRun, the 18-year leases include design, installation, monitoring, insurance and maintenance and repair.
Of course, since you don’t own the system, all tax-credits and incentives (federal, state and utility) go to ASE/SunRun, not to you. On the other hand, companies couldn’t offer a leasing programs like this without some way of recouping the initial, and expensive, start-up costs..
Reaping the benefits of a rooftop solar power system for just $1,000 down sounds like a great deal. And it may be — depending on the circumstances of the individual homeowner.
But, as always, it’s important — make that imperative — to look at the fine print of this and any other agreement before signing.
In an upcoming installment, Fireitup will be taking a look at the details contained in different leasing and purchasing agreements.
For now: We’re just glad there’s another option for expanding renewable energy in the Valley.