Should You Buy or Lease Your Solar Panels?

One of the most important decisions to make when switching to solar energy is whether you should buy or lease your solar panels. There are clear benefits to both, but understanding their differences is crucial to determining which choice is right for you.

Buying Solar Panels in Northern California

The long-term value of a solar energy system largely depends on how it’s financed. Buying your system outright or acquiring a solar loan will yield the most savings. Typically, a solar system will cost between $15,000–$30,000. You can purchase it outright, or with a $0 down solar loan, pay for it within 5-20 years. Once you’ve purchased your system or finished repaying the loan, you own the system and the electricity it produces. 

Solar panels and equipment will need periodic maintenance, and the owner of the system is responsible for upkeep. The labor and cost of this maintenance is usually fairly minimal, since your system will have comprehensive warranties in place and the materials are designed to be durable in all conditions for decades.  

Leasing Solar Panels in Northern California

Leasing your solar system will relieve you of ownership responsibilities, but the trade-off is that you will see less financial benefit. As with a solar loan, a solar lease can be acquired for no upfront cost. A lease agreement is generally for 20-25 years. For the duration of the lease, ownership of the system is retained by the company you’re leasing from and you pay a fixed monthly rate for the electricity it produces. This is what’s referred to as a Purchase Power Agreement (PPA). Any federal and state incentives or tax rebates go to the owner (the lease company).  The savings generated from these may be reflected in your monthly rate, but they don’t go directly to you. Typically, by leasing your solar panels, you will see a savings of 10-20% on your utility bills. At the conclusion of your agreement, you have the option to renew the lease, buy the system, or have the solar system removed. With a lease you will continue to pay utility bills, but at considerably lower fixed rates when compared with public utilities.

All maintenance for the solar panels is taken care of for you. The responsibility lies with the company you’re leasing from to keep it running smoothly and efficiently. 

If you would like to make solar ownership part of your life, Synergy Power is here to help. We can discuss your goals and our in-house financial advisor can assist you in determining the best lending option for your custom energy system. 


Buying Solar: Pros and Cons


  • Zero upfront costs
  • Greater energy cost savings
  • Full ownership of system and power once loan is repaid
  • Can take advantage of federal and state rebates (if applicable)


  • You are responsible for maintenance
  • If buying outright instead of utilizing a loan, greater upfront expense

Leasing Solar: Pros and Cons


  • Zero upfront costs
  • Low-cost, fixed monthly payments
  • No maintenance responsibilities
  • Best option for those who pay no federal taxes


  • Federal and state tax rebates go to the lease company, not you
  • At the end of the lease, ownership of system & power belongs to the lease company
  • Lower savings on energy costs


Ready to Make the Switch to Solar? Contact Us.