Leasing vs. owning solar arrays always produces strong opinions among renewable advocates. I’m squarely in the ownership camp (having purchased my own solar array) and had been planning to write about the differences. However, John Farrell and the gang @ Institute for Local Self-Reliance have already been doing a great job of comparing these two methods of installing solar PV. Please check them out.
A quote from the story by Paul Spencer, President and founder of the Clean Energy Collective (CEC) in Carbondale, CO - [A lease] was the first model we looked at…We ran the numbers…it’s a pretty minimal return over time. You just break even, you don’t own the thing anymore, and it goes away. We then ran a comparison to ownership…it’s night and day. Over the life of a system, an ownership model will produce nearly 3 to 4 times as much asset value as a lease. That’s 3-4 times as much payback to the consumer…we said, ‘we gotta figure out how to have people own this.’