Thinking about Solar Panels for your Home? Now is the Time to Buy.

Solar energy is one of the most popular energy choices available, and solar as a whole has become one of the fastest-growing industries in the country. In 2016, the residential solar industry flipped: more homeowners (53 percent) chose to purchase their solar system instead of leasing. This was a huge shift from 26 percent solar system ownership in 2014

Cash and loan sales have become increasingly popular thanks to the benefits of owning your solar system. Not only has solar become more efficient as the technology has improved over the years, but it has also become more affordable, making purchasing a solar system easier and more advantageous than ever. Tax incentives for homeowners that purchase solar panels mean a greater ROI, and competitive loan terms give homeowners the luxury of choice in their journey to energy independence.

Purchasing a solar system is an investment in your home and your future, and you want to be able to feel confident in your decision. We’ll break down the lease vs loan decision and answer all of your questions to help you make the choice that’s right for you.

Time to Buy: When Purchasing Solar Panels Makes Sense for You

There are a few factors to consider when making the decision to purchase a solar system rather than leasing. Cost, maintenance, and ROI are all pieces of the puzzle.

Typically, purchasing a solar system will cost a homeowner somewhere between $15,000 and $30,000, depending on the size of your home and your energy needs, among other factors. When it’s time to pay for a purchased system, homeowners can choose between an upfront cash payment for their solar system or going with a solar loan.

Solar loans are a great option for homeowners who are interested in utilizing renewable energy to power their home, but for whom an outright cash purchase doesn’t make sense. Generally, APRs are low and range between 4 percent and 8 percent for a term of 10 to 25 years. Solar loans may require down payments, and APRs vary from lender to lender.

With a cash or loan purchase, homeowners get to take advantage of federal tax incentives that allow them to deduct up to 30 percent of the system’s cost from their federal taxes. In the same wave of changes that increased the deduction to 30 percent in 2015, provisions were passed allowing homeowners to be eligible for federal deductions as soon as their solar panels are installed, compared to previous regulations requiring that a solar system had to be operational in order to be eligible for federal tax incentives1.

When purchasing a solar system through loans or with cash, maintenance also comes into play. Usually, you’ll be responsible for servicing your solar system throughout the lifetime of your system and monitoring your solar system’s efficiency yourself.

With Sunnova’s Easy Own loan energy service plan, homeowners can enjoy our best-in-class 25-year warranty and other benefits2:

  • Monitoring based on the amount of sunshine your home is getting and recent weather conditions.
  • Your solar system is covered under our industry-leading warranty for a full 25 years.
  • Eliminates out-of-pocket expenses for maintenance or equipment repairs and replacements for the term of your service agreement.
  • Guaranteed production for 25 years or a credit for the difference in most markets.
  • A transferable agreement allowing you to pass the benefits to the next homeowner if you sell your home.

If Buying Isn’t Right for You: When to Lease Solar Panels

If you’re more interested in leasing a solar system, with Sunnova, you can still benefit from low up-front costs, production guarantees, system monitoring, and affordable energy rates for the lifetime of your lease.

Leasing a solar system is similar to leasing a car. With Sunnova, we own the equipment, and you’ll pay a fixed amount every month, unless you choose a yearly percentage increase, referred to as an escalator. The purpose of the escalator is to provide more significant savings in the early years of your agreement. You’ll pay a lower initial rate per kWh in return for a slight increase in your rate each year.

We offer zero down leases – a down payment is optional. This means generally that you can start saving money on the energy you need to power your home right away.

Another factor to consider is that with a lease, as opposed to purchasing a solar system, you’re not eligible for federal tax incentives because you do not own the solar system.

Purchasing a Solar System is the New Trend in Energy Independence

The cost of a solar system is lower than ever, and thanks to comprehensive purchasing options, buying a solar system is on the upswing throughout the country. Advantageous loan terms allow homeowners to benefit from tax incentives, energy independence, and, in most markets, substantial savings1 over traditional utility costs. If you’ve been contemplating switching to solar, there is no better time than the present.

Sunnova brings homeowners an easy path to solar ownership with the Easy Own loan and offers the Easy Save lease for those who would rather lease than own. By choosing Sunnova, you’ll work with a company that has earned a reputation for our customer service, industry-leading warranty, and trusted network of partners. We’ll make the process of purchasing a solar system go smoothly from start to finish.


1:  You may be eligible for a federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) with the purchase of a solar system. To receive the full federal tax credit, you must have federal income tax liability at least equal to the value of the tax credit. Additional tax credits may also be available for homeowners in certain states. Sunnova makes no guarantees regarding customer eligibility for tax benefits or SRECs. Sunnova does not provide tax advice. Contact your personal tax advisor for eligibility.

2: Refer to the warranty in your service agreement for complete warranty terms and limitations. Your solar system production will vary based on weather and other factors. Restrictions and limitations apply. The service agreement can be transferred to the new homeowner. Sunnova’s approval required. Some restrictions apply. Solar system’s cumulative production will be evaluated to validate annual production guarantee. Refer to your agreement for details.  Sunnova does not offer production guarantee for energy service plans in Florida, Hawaii, and Puerto Rico. In the state of Florida, Sunnova does not offer 24/7 system monitoring. Restrictions apply. Refer to your service agreement for complete terms and limitations.