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Published on May 27th, 2013 | by Joshua S Hill


Affordable Solar Announces Solar Leasing For New Mexico

May 27th, 2013 by  

Affordable Solar has announced they will now be offering a solar panel leasing program to residents in New Mexico in cooperation with Sunnova Energy Corp. For less than the current electricity costs, many New Mexico locals will be able to switch to renewable energy to power their homes.

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Germany solar roof courtesy Shutterstock

The solar leasing program will allow New Mexico residents to install solar power systems leased from Affordable Solar to start providing their required energy — based on their energy needs and budgets — saving them money on energy costs from day one, and without the upfront costs of installing a solar power system.

The solar lease available includes installation, monitoring, repairs, and insurance for less than the cost of the average electricity bill. Affordable Solar, in their press release published on PR Newswire, provided an example;

As an example, a 4.5-kilowatt residential solar system, which is typical for a 3 bedroom home, would initially cost approximately $79 a month, with no upfront cost. The $79 per month will be offset by a decrease in their electric bill. Customers could purchase the same system outright for $18,000, not including federal and state tax credits.

“Affordable Solar is proud to have an innovative partner in Sunnova Energy Corp,” said Ryan Centerwall , general manager Affordable Solar. “This partnership will help bring energy independence to many New Mexicans that have been turned off by the upfront cost of solar, or their lack of tax incentives. New Mexicans will be able to lock in their energy costs for 25 years, providing stability that a family can plan around. Think of it like having been able to lock in your gas prices many years ago at 99¢ per gallon for 25 years. The upside is tremendous.”

“Sunnova is pleased to partner with Affordable Solar and to be the first to offer solar leasing in the New Mexico Market,” said Robyn Kenkel , account manager Sunnova. “New Mexicans will now have access to cheaper electricity through a solar lease for ZERO out of pocket expense. A Sunnova Lease allows you to lock in your electricity rate for the next 25 years, while utility rates continue to rise. Customers have peace of mind that comes with a 25 year warranty, system monitoring, maintenance, and our Power Production Guarantee.”

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  • ronwint

    A 4.5kW grid tie solar system doesn’t cost anywhere near $18,000 in today’s market. Nice try! Today you can easily purchase an installed, 4.5 kW, name brand, grid tie solar system for about $13,500 before incentives. Install it yourself and you’ll pay about $7,470. before incentives. At $79 per month on a 20 year lease, you’ll pay $18,960 and that’s without considering any payment escalator and you won’t even own the system. No thanks.

    • Bob_Wallace

      The US average price for residential rooftop installed systems, last quarter of 2012 was $5.01/watt. That would make a 4.5 kW system $22,680 before subsidies.

      I’d like to think that we’re a lot lower than that by now but I haven’t seen evidence that installation at $3/watt ($13,500/4,500) is common. You know of a source? Is $3/watt a regional average price?

      Australia is now under $2/watt. I’d like to find out that we’re getting down to that level in a hurry.

      • ronwint

        Yes, I know of a source and they’re not just regional. They’re national. There are of course certain areas of the country that require that installations be performed by specially authorized (registered) contractors. And in those states the labor market is higher (protected) but in most parts of the county the cost for an installed grid tie solar system can be at $3.00 a watt or less (professionally installed) before incentives. Self installed system are $1.00 to $1.30 less. Consumers just aren’t shopping.

        • Bob_Wallace

          ” in most parts of the county the cost for an installed grid tie solar system can be at $3.00 a watt or less (professionally installed) before incentives”

          Is anyone aggregating that data?

          If so, we can make it public. And when low prices are made public they should help bring prices down in other areas.

          This site is all about solutions. Helping to drive down the cost of solar and increasing installation rates is a major solution.

          • Otis11

            Note: @ronwint:disqus
            Can we get that information? Because at $3/W I think I can get family, and a few neighbors to invest…

    • JD


      I agree that $13.5k (pre-incentives) is a much closer estimate than $18k. I’m familiar with the NM market delivering a turnkey grid-tied system for sub $13k ($2.85/W).

      However, say someone doesn’t want to/can’t write a big check, or can’t realize the tax credits (retired, disabled, other), or doesn’t want to wait for payback, or doesn’t want to pay more in homeowner’s ins. or any other valid reason for non-owership, then leasing is a great option and still comes out ahead versus staying with your electric provider. Lease solar for $79/mo (0 Down 0 Esc) over 25 years = $23,700. Stay with electric provider for $110/mo, which is roughly what a 4kW (nominal) system would zero out, over 25 years = $33,000 (assuming no rate increase!). That’s a difference of $9,300 over 25 years ($372/year or $31/mo). Would you opt for lower electric bills for these numbers with no upfront cost? Most of the general public would and are in CA, AZ, CO with 75-80% of new systems adopted via leasing.

      • Bob_Wallace

        The main goal, as far as I’m concerned, is getting a lot of solar on the grid as quickly as possible so that we can cut back on fossil fuel use.

        In general owning is probably financially better than leasing, but as long as the roof-owner is paying less per month than purchasing power from the grid and there’s more solar installed it’s a win-win.

        • JD

          Well said Bob.

      • ronwint

        The number of people who can’t take advantage of the tax credit is a very small percentage of the population. And you don’t have to write a big check or any check at all with a $0 down FHA Title 1 solar loan. A lease might be slightly better than paying your electric bill after factoring the leasing company’s 2.9% to 3.9% annual payment escalator but a lease doesn’t hold a candle to a $0 down FHA solar loan. The interest on an FHA $0 down loan is tax deductible while the payments on a solar lease are not. You only need a
        650 credit score with a $0 down solar loan and no home equity is required. Then there’s the issue of selling your home with a lease attached to it. Good luck finding a home buyer at year 8 or10 that will want to assume your remaining lease payments on a ecade old solar system on your roof, when they can buy and
        own a brand new solar system for so much less. Both solar leases and PPAs will be a thing of the past now that zero down solar loans and zero down PACE
        (Property Assessed Clean Energy) loan are available. And since you’re saving, literally, tens of thousands of dollars by purchasing instead of leasing, your
        maintenance (what little there is) and your inverter replacement, as well as insurance is taken care of many times over with plenty of money to spare over
        the life of an owned system. My question to you is this: Would you opt for lower electric bills for much better numbers than your leasing example provides
        with no upfront cost with a solar loan instead of a lease? Most of the general public will be in CA, AZ, CO, NJ, NY, MN, FL, MA, OR, MO, and on and on, once they learn more about the solar loan information that the leasing companies have been suppressing with all their leasing propaganda.

        • JD

          You’ve missed my point. I am not making an argument between solar ownership and solar leasing. Doing so only hurts the adoption/support of solar energy and is misguided as ownership and leasing is not apples-to-apples in the first place. Ownership is about a product (solar pv system) and leasing is about a service (lower electric bills).

          I am a full supporter of both ownership and leasing since it’s clear that there is not a one-size-fits-all solution. As a retiree, I would not want to be told, “Sorry, you represent a very small percentage of the population, and can’t go solar”.

          The general public (no matter how small of the population they may or may not represent) should have options for going solar and I could not be happier that for New Mexican’s, like myself, there is now another way to go solar and take advantage of our abundant southwest sun.

          Homeowners who lease solar do not need luck to transfer their lease agreements to new buyers, just as homeowners who own their pv system don’t need it to realize the added value upon resale. They both need an educated buyer with common sense and who wants to pay less on their electric bill.

          PACE financing is a wonderful idea, but unfortunately is still held up in the courts and not a viable current option for New Mexicans.

          As for your answer, I did what I would expect anyone else to do. I researched my options and chose the best solution that made sense in my particular instance. It just so happened that leasing was a better choice for me.

          Reputable solar companies do not suppress or propagandize one option over the other. Here’s to Affordable Solar and Sunnova for offering both options and leaving it up to the consumer to choose.

          Solar energy financing (own or lease) is not a thing of the past and blind support for only one option is the only foolish thing here.

  • mds

    This is great! Next we need solar financing for Mexico.

  • EllenWedum

    What happens when it snows??

    • Marshall Harris

      Uh, how often does it snow in New Mexico?

      • Greg

        Depends what part of New Mexico you’re talking about – southern NM, not so much, but in the northern mountains, it can snow quite a bit during winter, but then you also get a lot of sunny days – not like the northwest or northeast where there are more cloudy than sunny days.

    • Matt

      LOL, that is a good one Ellen

    • Bob_Wallace

      White stuff covers the ground.

      People with solar clean the snow off their panels.

      When there is snow on the ground my panels really crank out the power. They love all that reflected light.

    • Ross

      Is this the best you can come up with?

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