I know solar power enthusiasts who hate solar leasing and other forms of 3rd-party-owned solar. The reason for the hate is that the money an individual or household could receive from electricity bill savings (or electricity production) goes to a corporation instead. While I understand the criticism, I am certainly not in that boat. Why? Because millions of people are going solar through the benefits solar leasing and “solar service” companies offer… and because of these companies’ savvy marketing.
There is a benefit to not having to put down the money for a solar power system. There is a benefit to having drastically lower electricity bills immediately, even $0 electricity bills, without having to put a chunk of money in for that. Yes, if you have the money to actually buy a solar power system, DO THAT. But if you have determined that you don’t, you can start saving money today with solar leasing!
A new report out this week by Sunrun, “the nation’s leading home solar company,” and PV Solar Report, “an authority on solar market data,” shows that a shocking 73.4% of Californians who go solar are now going solar using this option (as of February 2012). They use the terms “3rd-party-owned solar” and “solar power service” to describe this option (which actually includes solar leasing and home solar power purchase agreements). But no matter what you call it or which option you go with, the benefits come down to what I mentioned above. And, in the long run, people can save a ton!
“Sunrun invented solar power service in 2007 as a way for homeowners to go solar without spending $30,000 or more to buy the panels,” the company notes. “Sunrun owns and maintains the panels and homeowners pay a low rate for power. The model increases local economic growth by infusing outside investment dollars into neighborhoods and communities. Consumers also have the added benefit of free maintenance and monitoring on their systems.”
Last year, in June, solar power service passed up purchasing of solar power systems as the #1 way to go solar in California. Obviously, the sub-sector continues to grow. Compared to the first two months of 2011, 3rd-party-owned solar grew 174% in California.
The report notes that, so far in 2012, this solar sub-sector “has generated over $100 million in growth for the California economy.”
“Every consumer in today’s economy is looking for ways to save money, and now they can do that with a solar option that allows them to make the switch without owning the panels,” said Stephen Torres, founder and managing director of PV Solar Report. “This trend is taking hold on a national scale and PV Solar Report continues to track this and other critical data to provide up-to-date insight on how the solar market is growing.”
More information on the report: “PV Solar Report’s analysis is based on data from the California Solar Initiative (CSI) and an executive brief is available here. The CSI includes data from the California utilities SDG&E, PG&E and SCE. PV Solar Report is also expanding its services to New Jersey and more information can be found at www.pvsolarreport.com.”
I'm the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular clean energy website in the world, and Planetsave, a leading green and science news site. I've been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and I've been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, bicycling, and wind energy for the past few years. You can also find my work on Scientific American, Reuters, Think Progress, GE's ecomagination site, several sites in the Important Media network, & many other places. To connect on some of your favorite social networks, go to zacharyshahan.com or click on some of the links below.