Think solar panels are too expensive? It’s a common misconception—homeowners often think solar power is something only the rich can afford. But it just isn’t true. In fact, in many locations now, you can actually get solar panels for free. No, that isn’t some kind of trick: you can get free solar up on your roof, and start saving on your electric bills, through programs we like to call “pay as you go” solar.
How does pay as you go solar work? It’s simple—instead of purchasing solar panels outright yourself, a company installs the panels for you but keeps ownership of them. Then, like the name says, you pay as you go. Instead of paying your local utility for electricity, you’ll pay the solar company. What’s the benefit? You’ll start saving money right away, because of lower rates. (Oh, and yes, you’ll also get all of the side benefits of solar power—like knowing that you’re helping protect the environment for future generations, and supporting energy independence, and local jobs, and all of that good stuff).
Pay as you go solar, also sometimes known as “third party ownership,” comes in two basic forms: solar power purchase agreements (solar PPAs) and solar leases. With a solar lease, you’ll pay a certain amount for having solar panels. The amount won’t vary throughout the seasons, even though your solar panels will probably produce a little more power in the summer, when days are longer. With a solar PPA, on the other hand, your rates are based on how much power you’re producing. Whether you get a solar lease or solar PPA will just depend on local regulations. In either case, pay as you go solar will help you reach the holy grail of cheap electric bills.
Besides saving money on the upfront cost of getting your own solar panels, pay as you go solar has other advantages. The solar company will take care of all of the details at the beginning—everything from getting the proper permits to planning the full installation, including choosing the best equipment for your home’s unique needs. The company will apply for any solar rebates and incentives that apply, and pass the savings on to you in your new, lower electric bill. They’ll also be responsible for maintenance. In a solar lease agreement, you’ll be guaranteed that your panels will perform at a certain level: if for some reason you’re not getting the amount of power that you should be, the company will take care of it.
Right now, thousands of homeowners have solar power—but it’s actually affordable for millions. Pay as you go solar is available in places like Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon and Pennsylvania, Texas, and Washington D.C. Want to find out if pay as you go solar is available yet in your city, and how much you could save? Sign up for a free, no-obligation solar quote. We’ll connect you with the best solar deal for your home.
Last modified: May 7, 2020