We are looking to put solar panels on our roof to power our home in Mesa, AZ. We are torn between purchasing a smaller system outright that may cover 25% or so of our usage and own it (and thus get all rebates & incentives directly), or getting a larger system that could offset all of our usage but which requires signing a lease with Solar City with $ 5k down, $ 50/month, and $ 12k final out of pocket price after 20 years (but they apply for and receives all rebates/incentives and own the system for 20 years). Solar City has a great contract with a very low interest rate, extremely competitive prices on the system components, no annual increases, no lien on the home, and they give you the system to own at the end. They also monitor the system and warranty it for 20 years against everything (weather, neighbors kids, electrical failure, etc.), as well as insure the property against damage caused by the panels/install. They answered every question (we asked hundreds!) right, nothing hidden and it’s a very reasonable deal for the leasee. However, we hear that it is more cost effective and there is a better ROI if we buy a system outright. We are wondering beyond the rebates available, would it be better to buy a small system and add to the system size over the years to own the system (and thus be able to easily sell the home vs. having to get Solar City’s permission if it is sold in the next 20 years)? Is the ROI really that much different? What annual tax benefits can be had if we own the system? Any thoughts, suggestions, etc. are greatly appreciated!!!
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