Owning a system outright means you purchase the system upfront, either with a loan or an upfront cash payment. Owning a system means you will retain the rights to all of the project’s additional incentives, like the 30 percent federal tax credit. Further, owning your system means you will be able to hedge your bets against rising electricity prices and lock in your solar production. Direct ownership of a system makes sense if you are able to pay for the system upfront or are able to take out a loan.
If you’re planning to sell your home shortly after going solar, it may make sense to purchase the system. Owning the system outright makes it easy to transfer ownership of the panels to the new homeowners and to incorporate their price into the value of your home. Selling your home after going with a third-party ownership model is more complicated. To do so, you’ll need to pay off the remainder of the lease, effectively purchasing the system. If you don’t wish to pay off the system, the new home owners will have to agree to take over your current contract and pay off the remainder of the agreement themselves.
Financing a system you own: Modern financing mechanisms have made solar more affordable and available to anyone interested. When going solar there are several ways to finance a system that you own, including loans, Property Assessed Clean Energy programs, and other incentives.