If you Lease a Rooftop Solar Energy System, Someone Else May be Benefiting

It’s common knowledge that when you have a solar energy system installed on your home, you can earn power credits, more technically known as Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs), which you get by selling power back to the grid.

If you’re currently using a solar energy system through either a lease or a power purchase agreement, you’re probably wondering how you can get your hands on these power credits.

The answer? You can’t.

Why leasing solar panels isn’t a good idea

According to most state laws – California, in particular – the RECs will be awarded to the third-party owner if you lease a solar energy system. In other words, it’s the company who leased or arranged to provide the solar panels that gets the credits. When you enter into a power purchase agreement with the solar panel provider, you will be able to enjoy solar power but the third party provider will get the REC benefit. In addition to this, some solar panel installation providers can sell the RECs to companies and establishments that want the general public to think that they’re using renewable energy even if they’re actually using fossil fuels for their electricity needs.

The benefits of owning

In contrast, if you decide to purchase and install your own rooftop solar panels, you have the sole right to claim the RECs for yourself. Of course, you still need the assistance of solar system installation companies, but make sure that you’re not merely leasing their equipment or entering into a power purchase agreement without your knowledge. In addition to buying your own solar panel system, you should also be on top of the specifics of what the installation company will provide you.

By understanding how the solar production industry works and by purchasing your own solar panels rather than leasing, you will be on your way to maximizing the benefits of owning a solar energy system.

[Photo courtesy of Roland Tanglao on Flickr]