A Glance at Solar City's Website

Solar City Lease text
This statement stretches the truth. SolarCity – and other leasing companies – commonly exaggerate rate increases to frighten prospects into committing to solar. Here in northern California, PG&E’s electrical rates from 2001 to 2010 increased 2.9%, not 5%. And in the past few years, the rate for tier 4 and 5 electricity has DROPPED dramatically.

It should not require misrepresentations to sell solar leases…

Solar City Savings Promise
A better investment? That’s not true. With bank accounts and CDs paying next to nothing, and the stock market flat, purchasing solar (or purchasing a prepaid lease) is the best solar investment possible.  A lease is for those that do not have $10,000 - $60,000 sitting around.  But leasing is NOT a better investment than putting money up-front.

Let me also comment on the graph above. Every leasing company uses some version of this chart to show the savings over time. The way that yellow area – Old Electricity Bill without Solar - grows is by assuming that utility rates will grow at a rate faster than the lease. Elsewhere in this site we explained lease escalators – basically annual percent rate increases to the lease payment owed. In the graph above the middle green strip - Solar Lease - does grow, so some percent escalator was assumed. The yellow area has grown at a faster rate than the dark green area, so the assumption is that utility rates increased faster than the escalator. Finally, the light-green area – New Electricity Bill – also increased. There are two explanations for this. First: leases are rarely designed to cover 100% of the power.  So whatever power you’re buying from the utility WILL increase over time. Second: panel-production drops just a bit, every year. So even if your consumption stay steady, you will be buying more electricity from the utility.
 Solar City lease text
All leases include monitoring, and all leases include maintenance/repair.  That’s because, the lease, by definition, promises a certain amount of electrical production, and the lease company will need to send reimbursement checks to you if the production drops below the guarantee.
But this paragraph does highlight two nice aspects of leases:

  1. THEY will monitor the system, so you don’t need to.

  2. THEY will replace the inverter when it fails, and they’ll fix anything else that might reduce production below their guarantee…

next page: a glance at  Solar Universe's site

Should I Lease a Solar Panel System?
Who Should I Lease From?
Are Some Leasing Companies Better than Others?
Leasing versus Buying
How Much Can I Save if I Lease Solar?
Explain the Different Variables in a Lease
The Escalator Trap
Can I Sell my House, if I have a Solar Lease?
So... Should I Get Solar, Using a Lease?

Quiz: Can you explain this solar lease promotion?
Understanding a Solar Proposal

Assorted Lease Companies' Web Pages:
- BrightGrid
- Solar City
- Solar Universe
- SunCap Financial
- Sungevity
- SunPower
- SunRun
- Vivint Solar

2014 by Bill Fridl. All rights reserved.
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