A Glance at SunPower's Website

SunPower is famous for manufacturing premium panels. Is roof space is tight, and expense is not a concern, SunPower is the panel to select.

The company's web site has only a few pages about their leasing program: SunPower solar lease program

Nothing on the page above catches my eye except for the following bullet: SunPower solar lease buyback text

Six years is a magic number in solar leasing, in that all the accelerated depreciation has been captured by the leasing company. But as a homeowner, I'd like to know that I could buy-out the lease at other times, if I needed to.

Here's a more interesting page on the SunPower site: SunPower solar loan program

Look in the middle of the page: loans! My experience is that a loan payment is not taxible, whereas a lease payment is. So loans are attractive - IF the rate is low enough.

Let's look at a few of these loan bullets:

SunPower text re solar loans

Ow! 8% on a 20-year loan? 30-year mortages are below 4.5% right now, and shorter mortages cost less, so this is expensive!

Sunpower solar loan text

OK, this is nice, since we all understand what it means from our experience with home mortgages. With a lease, the payoff calculation is different; it's a detail that shoppers need to keep an eye on.

SunPower lease text

This bullet is nothing special, since leases are also available with no escalator.

SUnPower solar loan text

At first glance this might be confusing, but think about the cash-flow of a solar purchase. The ITC - the investment tax credit - is a 30% rebate to the owner - but it is returned as a tax credit the year after the system is installed. So this one-time paydown allows owners to borrow what's needed to pay for the system, then reduce that loan by 30% once they have the tax credit, to turn-over to the lending company. Nice!

SunPower solar lease text

As we've stated earlier, for tax reasons a typical solar lease doesn't state that you'll own the system after 20 years. But expect that you will, since the leasing company really doesn't want your used panels. So no real difference here.

That brings up a final point about loans versus leases. With a lease, it's their equipment on your roof. If anything fails, they need to fix it. With a loan, it's YOUR equipment on the roof. If anything fails, YOU will need to fix it.

I remain interested in loans, but the interest rate needs to be compelling.

next page: a glance at SunRun'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

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