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American Sentry Solar By American Sentry Solar • November 1, 2016

Should I Buy/Own or Lease Solar Panels For My Home?

If you’re a newbie in the search for solar you may be tempted to jump at “free” solar offers from leasing and PPA companies. To put it simply, nothing in this world is absolutely free and if it sounds too good to be true, it most always is.  Most solar companies will offer all three options of a solar lease, PPA (another type of lease), and buying outright or with the help of a loan. Here at American Sentry Solar we don’t offer a PPA or Lease option, not because we don’t have the capability to, but rather because we simply do not believe it’s in the homeowner’s best interest.  We offer only a purchase outright option or the option to purchase with the help of a loan.  These options allows homeowners to receive all the great solar incentives Maryland offers.

In this post we’ll present the factors of each option and see how they match up head to head.


 Return On Investment

   landingPageCheckMark.png   Owning:  Owning solar panels for your home is the best way maximize the return of your solar investment.  Owning your solar energy system will cut your electricity bill by up to 70% or more depending on the size of the system.  Along with receiving a federal tax credit, Maryland state grant, SREC's, and a property tax credit (depending on your Maryland county), owning solar will increase the sale value of your home if you ever decide to move. 

   cross-42928_640.png   Lease/PPA:  With a lease or PPA your savings are limited thus only allowing you to save in the 10% to 30% range   depending on the size of your roof and the amount of panels it can fit.  A lease or PPA agreement is essentially a             rental agreement where you pay your monthly utility bill and pay a monthly fee to the leasing company.

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 Contract Length

   landingPageCheckMark.png  Owning:  An outright purchase of your solar panels will leave you completely free of any long term agreement that rents out your roof to a solar leasing company.  The only contract you will be held to is if you decide to purchase your solar panels with the help of a loan.

   cross-42928_640.png  Lease/PPA:  Lease and PPA agreements are commonly between 20 and 25 years.  According to the NAHB      (National Home Builders Association), the typical buyer of a single family home can be expected to stay in the home    approximately 13 years before moving to another home.  PPAs come with a rate escalator that increases your payments yearly based on a rate set by the provider.  Solar lease and PPA's can also become a hassle when trying to sell your home since you must convince the buyer to purchase your home as well as take over the lease payments for the next decade.


   landingPageCheckMark.png  Owning:  Maryland homeowners that choose to their own their solar panel systems are granted with a great deal of incentives that can reduce the overall cost of the system.  These incentives include:

  • 26% Federal Tax Credit
  • $1,000 Maryland State Grant (Rebate)
  • Property Tax Credit for Anne Arundel, Harford, Baltimore, and Prince George's Counties
  • Profit from SRECs (Solar Renewable Energy Credits) Learn More About SRECS Here.

   cross-42928_640.png  Lease/PPA:  Maryland homeowners that sign a lease or PPA (Power Purchase Agreement) hand over the 26% tax credit and SRECs to the company providing the solar lease or PPA.  SREC's are one of the most important things             you're giving up, since it can be a influx of cash into your pocket!