By far, the best way to enjoy solar energy for your home or facility is by owning the system.
Leased or Power Purchase Agreement systems are those that are owned by someone else, but installed on your roof. You would pay the owner either a set lease amount or a per kilowatt hour charge.
Think like an investor, and consider this comparison chart:
|Purchase the Solar System, Cash or Loan
|Lease/pay someone else for the electricity
|An asset… an investment in your property
|Not an investment; no ownership
|Adds value to your property
|No added value to your property
|Savings are like dividends on your investment
|A financial commitment to long stream of payments to someone else
|Once paid for, it’s yours. Kwhs are free from then on
|Someone else is profiting by your payments
|You get the tax credits, Renewable Energy Credits, State grant, etc.
|Someone else gets the solar incentives
But don't just take my word for it. Consider this more detailed discussion from solar-estimate.org
Do your research. If a company offers you a "no money up front" deal that sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Find out what you can about that company, and be very careful to read the entire contract.
The initial cost of a system could be a challenge. There are low interest borrowing options that are still better than committing your rooftop and your checkbook to 20 years of paying someone else.