Is the Sun Setting on Solar?
It’s a joy to get electric bills in single digits, thanks to energy-saving solar panels. Turning the sun’s rays into tiny energy bills has been a boon for solar companies and customers alike. But, if you haven’t already gone solar, the proverbial train may have left the station, due to big changes in California photovoltaic rebates and incentives.
Incentives have long been available through the California Solar Initiative, but rebates offered through the state sponsored program have run out for Pacific Gas & Electric and Southern California Edison customers.
Leasing vs. Buying Solar Systems
Buying a solar system outright is a pricey undertaking. Many homeowners opt instead to lease solar panels for a term of two decades or so. A difficulty in leasing solar panels arises when it comes time to sell a property. Lease contracts typically stipulate that the lessee is obligated to pay out the contract, regardless of whether the customer sells his property. That means that a lessee either has to come up with the money to buy out the system upon sale of the home, or convince a buyer to take over the lease payments as part of the purchase requirements (assuming the buyer qualifies for the lease takeover). A third alternative is the costly option of moving and installing panels at the lessee’s new residence.
Tax Credits Disappearing
Is the sun setting on solar? The national Solar Investment Tax Credit is set to expire December 31, 2016. When that happens, its 30% credit will disappear for homeowners, further diminishing the former allure of photovoltaic power.
Unless Congress acts to sustain the credit, homeowners can expect costs associated with residential solar energy to jump by a third. If installing solar panels is something you’ve been considering, it’s crucial to keep close tabs on these developments over the next year and a half.
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