We recently had an experience selling a home with newly leased solar panels installed. The homeowner paid a monthly lease fee of $95 plus $19.25 monthly to the utility company. The panels would be owned outright after 25 years or they could be purchased upfront for $15,000. This was a metered system whereby any excess power generated went back to the grid and hopefully the homeowner would receive some sort of small stipend at the end of each yearly cycle.
This nice 4-5 bedroom colonial home was priced at $209,900 and had over 24 showings in a 5 month period before it finally went under deposit. It should have sold much sooner based on it's condition and attractive price but their turned out to be much buyer aversion due to the leased panels and their appearance. The final sales price of the home was $195,000.
It seems that buying the solar system outright would have been a better choice for this seller rather than leasing. Prospective purchasers complained about having to pay the lease fee for 25 years or having to spend another $15,000 upfront for the buyout.
If purchased, do they add value to your home??? The short answer is, the jury is still out till more data is available to make a matched pair comparison or analysis. The author of this real estate blog is a Realtor and licensed appraiser in the State of Connecticut. Appraisers are currently not making a positive or negative adjustment for solar systems in this State. Therefore, think long and hard before you lay out a lot of cash that you won't likely recover unless you stay in that home for many, many years.