If you want to use solar power for your home, you have options. You may be able to buy or lease a system or sign a power purchase agreement. Your choice can affect how much you spend upfront and over the life of the system, whether you get certain tax breaks or not, and your responsibilities when you sell your home. Evaluate the company, product, costs, and your obligations before you make a commitment.
Solar power options:
Is solar power right for you?
Buying a solar system
Leases and power purchase agreements
Solar power options
If you use a solar panel system — also called a photovoltaic or PV system — to produce electricity, you buy less electricity from the utility company and enjoy the benefits of renewable energy. The Department of Energy says most homes with solar panels get at least 40% of their energy from solar; that varies by house. Whether solar power will fill all your power needs depends on how much your system produces and how much you use.
If you buy a solar panel system, you may be eligible for tax credits or other financial incentives that offset the initial cost. If you lease or have a power purchase agreement (PPA), you can pay less upfront and may have lower monthly payments, but you usually won’t get tax credits or other incentives — the company that owns the system will. Whether you buy, lease, or have a PPA, you’ll probably still buy some power from the local utility.