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Solar shift: Falling costs make owning better than leasing

Lucas Mearian | May 4, 2016
The change comes as government rebates and tax incentives for solar setups dwindle.

For those who haven't yet leased a solar system, Aggarwal said it's critical to make sure any contract includes a transferrable warranty. That way, if a consumer decides to buy out the contract, the product warranty will be honored by the manufacturer.

Even as the solar market experiences a boom, the tax incentives and government rebates that initially spurred it on have diminished. According to the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, rebates and other incentives have declined from $5 to $7 per watt at their peak 10 years ago to less than $1 per watt of installed solar power in most major markets. They'll continue to decline as adoption grows.

As a result, purchasing a solar system in five years will likely bring with it fewer financial benefits. Even then, the system is still expected to deliver a 15% annual rate of return, meaning it would still save enough money to offset costs within five years.


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