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Solar Lease



May 31, 2011 – Comments (14)


The single biggest barrier to the adoption of solar power has always been the high upfront cost of getting a system onto your roof. Did you know that approximately 90% of the lifetime cost of a home solar system involves payments for panels and installation?

Sungevity’s Solar Lease allows you to go solar without the upfront cost. For no money down, we will design and install a system customized for your home, then lease the panels to you for a low monthly rate.

Instant Savings

Little or no upfront cost means little or no waiting for your investment to pay for itself. The combined cost of your lease payment plus the cost of your new electricity bill will likely be less than the cost of your old electricity bill, which means you’ll be saving money from Day 1. You'll be paying less for the electricity you use every day and these saving will grow over time.

Guaranteed Output

Beyond the immediate savings, going with a Solar Lease means you don't have to worry about whether or not your system is producing power as it should. As a Solar Lease customer, we’ll guarantee in writing how much energy your system will produce each year and, if we fall short, we’ll pay you for the difference.  In the far likelier case that your system over-performs, however, you won't be charged a cent more.  

Full-Service Solar

In order to fulfill our Performance Guarantee, we monitor, maintain, and insure our systems at no additional cost. Our proactive monitoring enables us to be the first to know if your system isn't performing as expected. If something is amiss, we’ll fix it - whether it involves repairing an inverter or replacing panels. It's the most worry-free way to go solar today.

Our Mission is to Make it Easy

Start to finish, our focus is on making this process as simple and hassle free for you as possible. Within 24 hours of your iQuote request, we'll have designed your system and delivered to you a firm, interactive quote without need for a site visit. Then, we'll walk you through an integrated online process that includes everything from completing a credit check to “e-signing” your lease document. When it comes to filling out paperwork, we’ve dedicated years to understanding what utilities are asking for so you don’t have to. We’ll tell you what you need to know, answer any questions you may have, and then let you get on with your life and enjoy the clean energy produced by your Sungevity home solar system.

That was direct from the Sungevity website. 

Apparently they want to lease me a solar installation for less money per month than my current electric bill. I like that.

14 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On May 31, 2011 at 3:16 PM, Melaschasm (70.45) wrote:

This is a great business model to bring solar to individual users. 

Unfortunately it is probably a scam since solar electricity still costs much more than traditional sources.  If I lived in an area with ample sunlight, I would take the time to research this company, since it is a very intriguing business model.

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#2) On May 31, 2011 at 3:32 PM, chk999 (99.97) wrote:

They have to borrow the total cost of the installed system. The lease payments and any final payment have to have a NPV greater than the NPV of the borrowed funds or they are losing money. They also have a bunch of risk in that if the homeowner defaults, they still owe the borrowed money and doing a repo on a solar setup will be difficult at best.

An interesting idea, but not a business I would invest in.There is a lot of downside risk and almost no upside. 

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#3) On May 31, 2011 at 4:15 PM, EnigmaDude (55.14) wrote:

Actually, it's a sweet deal for the solar leasing companies, which are popping up all over the country.  Here is a link to a website that provides some facts that will make you think twice about the financial pitfalls of leasing a residential solar system:

(I have no vested opinion either way.  In fact, when I first heard about it I thought it sounded like a great idea too, until I investigated further...)

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#4) On May 31, 2011 at 4:24 PM, Valyooo (38.19) wrote:

Devo, put your money where your mouth is keep talking about how great solar is, why aren't you using it?

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#5) On May 31, 2011 at 4:27 PM, leohaas (30.15) wrote:

I have no idea if this is profitable as a business or for the consumer, but they are popping up in my neighborhood too. And NJ is not exactly known as the sunshine state. So there must be something to it. Or maybe it is just a fad?


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#6) On May 31, 2011 at 4:33 PM, EnigmaDude (55.14) wrote:

As a new homeowner in sunny Colorado, I am very interested in solar energy but the upfront cost makes it impractical for me.  One thing that I learned from some quick research is the PACE funding program (which is currently stalled out in Congress) that makes it feasible by spreading out the cost over a long term at relatively low cost.  If PACE financing were available to me I would seriously consider installing a solar system on my home but I would never consider a lease.

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#7) On May 31, 2011 at 4:36 PM, TheDumbMoney (81.87) wrote:

This is basically a clone of SolarCity, which is really big/well-known in California.  If you're interested in this, you should look at SolarCity as well. 

FYI -- I'm pretty sure the leasing company gets the benefit of the federal and state solar tax credits, though I haven't looked into it.  My understanding is that the tax credits are 100% what makes the business model work.

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#8) On May 31, 2011 at 7:03 PM, devoish (71.86) wrote:

First Valyoo,

My neighbor has oak trees or I would have changed the slope of my roof  to installl solar panels.

Second Enigma,

Absolutey awesome link. When I first glanced I thought it was going to be some fossil fueled anti solar crapola, but that is a great a link to get much more out of an installed system than 15% saving on your electric bill for 15 years and then own the system after. The PACE lending program will make the fossil fools cry.

third chk999,

The potential purchaser of this lease is already paying more each month than the lease payment. Because they will have lower out of pocket monthly expenses this is probably about as low risk a loan as a bank can make. At the end of lease the homeowner can choose to renew the lease for 5 years or they will remove the system.

Leo, and Dumber,

At todays prices for electricity, after rebates etc, payback from solar is less than ten years in most places in the USA much quicker in the south. Clearly Sungevity is tithing the leasing company, just like when you buy a car and paying a lender has always cost you and these days costs you ridiculous as compared to my younger days. But having an electricity bill that will not go up for 15-20 years is probably going to work out in your favor.

Thank you all for your interest and the "recs".

Best wishes,


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#9) On May 31, 2011 at 8:15 PM, chk999 (99.97) wrote:

Your payback period seems wildly optimistic to me. My neighbor put in a solar array last year that he admits won't have paid back the original investment within the life of the solar panels. 

In any case, the market will decide. Solar is either cost effective or its not. If not, we will eventually run out of people willing to subsidize it.

Me, I'm looking at generators. 

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#10) On May 31, 2011 at 9:56 PM, devoish (71.86) wrote:


Here in NY State the cost of the solar is paid back in ten years. If your house has the sunlight blocked by trees or anything you should not get solar installed yet. People here who get 10kw installations sell enough electricity back to LIPA to eliminate any bill for their nightime consumption. They pay nothing for electricity, just a service fee.

Its a good deal for those who can take advantage of it.

Best wishes,


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#11) On June 01, 2011 at 6:05 PM, rofgile (99.35) wrote:

Wow Devoish,

 Really amazing news that there are businesses like this appearing.  I will read more.


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#12) On June 02, 2011 at 11:52 AM, EnigmaDude (55.14) wrote:

Rof - be sure to read my link in comment #3. 

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#13) On June 02, 2011 at 5:57 PM, devoish (71.86) wrote:


If this subject interests you please read Enigma's link, do more than just glance. It contains important cautions concerning the information I provided.

Best wishes,


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#14) On June 03, 2011 at 10:57 AM, lemoneater (57.13) wrote:

Interesting topic. I've wondered why solar panels aren't that big yet in my area of SC. We have enough sun! Of course, we get cheaper electricity here than anywhere I've lived up north. With other affordable energy choices we probably have much less incentive for solar although we have more sun.

I should start a solar share company. Devoish can have some of my summer sun and I can have some of his winter chill. If only it were that simple.

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