East and West Coast Programs Offer Solar Energy Leases

In California and New Jersey, two solar companies are testing new solar energy leasing programs, recognizing that the upfront cost of installing solar energy is a real stumbling block to adoption.

In California, SolarWorld Americas announced that it has created a new program, SolarWorld Financial Solutions, to let potential customers access solar without putting money down.  SolarWorld says that its authorized dealers and their customers in select Western states can now lease its Sunkits solar systems or defer payment until state and federal incentives can be realized. Commercial customers and not-for-profit organizations can select among various leases or a power purchase agreements (PPAs).  Details about which banks are providing the capital were not disclosed but SolarWorld said that it hopes to have an announcement about at least one of the strategic partners involved with the program soon.

Michigan-based, United Solar announced a pilot program taking place on the east coast in which 30 New Jersey residents will be able to lease its BIPV products at low monthly rates.

Under the program, NJR Home Services (NJRHS), an unregulated subsidiary of New Jersey Resources, a home appliance installation and service company, will install Uni-Solar’s integrated PV modules on about 30 residential homes as part of a solar lease program. NJRHS will cover the upfront installation and maintenance costs and then lease the solar panels to homeowners for $8.66 per kilowatt installed.

The average size system for the pilot program is expected to be three-kilowatts with a fixed monthly lease payment price of $26 over a 20-year period.

This pilot program is also the first time that customers will be able to install Uni-Solar’s BIPV product called the PowerShingle or CertainTeed Corporation’s product EnerGen that uses Uni-Solar’s modules. Both the PowerShingle and EnerGen are Building-integrated PV products that install directly on the rooftop in some cases replacing traditional rooftop shingles with PV, requiring no rooftop penetrations.  Uni-Solar said in its press release that it will work with its partners to decide which new solar product, PowerShingle or EnerGen, will go on each roof. 

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