Buying solar panels requires an investment and more decision-making than leasing, but over the long term the benefits of owning your system are hard to beat.
Most solar leases are Capital or finance leases because the lease is for more than 75% of the expected life of the solar panels and contains a discounted buy out provision at the end of the lease term to allow the householder to buy the solar equipment.
Leasing solar panels from a solar provider merely gives you benefits as a renter of the energy system. If you don't buy, the company you lease from remains the owner of the solar panel system and, therefore, receives the long term financial benefits.
This one's a bit more complex than a solar lease. Here's how it works: A company designs, installs, and maintains your home's solar panel system. The solar panels power your home but you pay a fixed fee to the owning company for the energy as it owns the generated power.
There are two basic ways homeowners can get free solar panels—by signing a solar lease or Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs). The primary differences between them are 1) whether you pay to lease the solar system equipment or for the power produced, and 2) whether or not you have the option to purchase your solar system.
It's important to do your homework when considering whether to buy or lease your solar panels. When you lease a solar system or enter into a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), you do not own the system and are simply "renting" it from the installer.