Solar Just Got Much Cheaper in Oregon
SolarCity began offering solar leases with no up-front costs to Oregon’s homeowners on Jan. 1.
“Prior to Jan. 1, the tax credits were only available to homeownersthat purchased a [solar] system,” he said. “We could have leased thesystems to them before that. But it wouldn’t have been cost effective to them [i.e., homeowners].”
Under the lease agreement homeowners can get a 15-year SolarCitySolarLease for as little as $20 a month, significantly reducing theirelectric bill, if not eliminating it, Bass explained. A 3.2 kilowattsystem would cost $25 per month.
SolarCity retains the federal tax credit and other solar rebates for installing the system, he said. The homeowner receives the taxcredit from the state over a four-year period. Every year when thehomeowner receives the tax credit, they make an additional payment toSolarCity, which is less than the tax rebate they receive, according toBass.
“We set it up that way so it’s a cash flow positive event for the customer,” he said.
According to Bass, SolarCity is first offering the solar system lease option to residents in Northern Oregon.
“The lease is available in Pacific Power and Portland GeneralElectric territories,” he said. “We’re based in Portland, and those arethe two utilities that service the areas that we can service fromPortland. We hope to expand to other parts of the state eventually.”
The company has been in Oregon for a number of years and has severalhundred customers in the state, Bass said. But those customers areeither residential or commercial customers that bought a system fromSolarCity.
“We’re happy to sell systems, too,” he said.
SolarCity also offers solar leases in Arizona, California, Coloradoand Texas, and according to Bass, the company plans to expand into morestates. Already it has more than 10,000 customers, according to Bass.
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