Own vs Lease

CST Solar Own vs Lease Better to Own Solar System or Rent Infographic

As a small, locally owned business, we made the decision many years ago to only offer the sale of solar systems and here's why. Although a solar lease may look attractive since there is no upfront cost, there are long-term negative effects from a solar lease to consider. We want to do the best for our customers so here's what you need to know when you consider whether to own vs. lease solar panels.


Solar Lease

When you lease a solar system, the leasing company owns the system and you make monthly payments to that company for the use of their solar equipment. One of the financial perks of switching to solar is capitalizing on the 30% federal solar tax credit. However, when leasing, the homeowner is no longer eligible for these savings. Instead, the solar leasing company gets the tax credits and any available utility incentives because they own the solar system.

Many times leases offer a lower price per kWh than the utility.  This is attractive to many consumers; however, with an annual rate escalator within the terms of the lease that results in increasing payments over time, what may save you money in the early years can cost you significantly more than the utility in future years.  

Speaking of the future, many of these leases are long term, sometimes as much as 25 years.  Since the average family moves within 7 years, this creates complications when the house is sold.  If a buyer of your home does not assume the lease, it may be your responsibility to pay for the remainder of the lease.  This is commonly known as a buyout clause.  Once you pay off the remainder of the lease, you still won’t own the equipment!   If you’re unwilling to pay this a large amount, the lease acts as a lien against your property.  This may hold up or even negate the pending sale of your home.   


Solar Purchase

The fine print and lengthy contracts associated with leasing a solar system are complicated. But when you purchase a solar system with CST, we make owning your power simple:

  • Zero Money Down: our financing options allow you to make the switch with no upfront money out of pocket.
  • Low Payments: affordable solar payments that are less than what you pay on your electric bill each month. Of course, you can purchase solar panels outright, but many people prefer to finance them either as a home equity loan or as their own purchase.
  • Save More with Tax Credits & Rebates: you are eligible for all the solar savings!
  • Increase Home Value: add to your home value without having to worry about messy solar lease liens.
  • Own Your Power: with the utility or a solar lease, you'll never stop making monthly payments, but when you purchase your system, your monthly payment goes away when the system is paid off and you get to enjoy producing your own clean power for a lifetime.

With CST, you can own your own solar system with zero money down and affordable solar payments so that you can enjoy saving thousands of dollars for decades to come. 

Ready to purchase solar panels? Let us give you a free custom quote on what your own solar system would cost.


"The sales people were knowledgeable and loved that CST took care of all the tax credit paperwork. Installation crew were respectful."
- Chuck Chandler, 2016