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The Solar Lease

No up-front cost, no debt, and no worries.
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A solar lease is the easiest way to go solar.  You don’t have to pay anything up front, you don’t have to take on any debt, and someone else is financially responsible for the system.  Sounds pretty great, right?

Certasun, based in Buffalo Grove, IL, offers a solar lease through SunPower, a San Jose, CA based manufacturer of the premier solar panels on the market.  SunPower leases you (the homeowner) the system and Certasun installs it.

Here are the details on why a solar lease might make sense for you.

Leasing solar is cheaper than paying ComEd

When did you choose ComEd as your electricity provider?  The short version is, you didn’t.  ComEd effectively has a monopoly on the northern Illinois electricity market.

With a solar lease, you can produce electricity (measured in kilowatt-hours, or kWh) on your own roof at a fraction of the cost of what you would otherwise pay ComEd.  Every kWh you don’t have to buy from ComEd is money saved.

A solar lease protects against ComEd rate increases

Here’s an example of a Certasun solar lease customer in Bolingbrook. By saving money per kWh relative to ComEd, this customer is expected to save quite a bit of money over the long-term.  However, those savings do depend on how quickly ComEd rates increase.  Check out the graphs below.

The worst version, of course, is doing nothing: That’s the gray bar on the left.  In that scenario, assuming 4% annual ComEd rate increases, this customer would pay ComEd $50,653 over the next 20 years.  Yikes!

By choosing a solar lease, our Bolingbrook customer was able to avoid this expensive scenario and is expected to save $27,323 over the next 20 years!  And even if ComEd rates never go up, this customer would still be expected to save $13,428.

 

A solar lease is ideal if you can’t use the tax credit

A solar lease makes sense for a lot of people.  One group that especially benefits from a solar lease are those who can’t use the solar tax credit themselves.  This may include retirees or those who have already reduced their total tax liability with non-solar tax credit and deductions.  If you lease the solar system, SunPower (the panel manufacturer) owns the solar system and receives both the federal solar tax credit and the Illinois Shines incentive.  You as the homeowner benefit from the energy the system produces.  Thus, if you can’t use the tax credit, it can be pretty helpful to have SunPower keep the tax credit and offer you a low electricity rate as a result.

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