Tiny Tuesday: Stress-Free Solar

Sunrun is a solar provider that takes care of everything – permitting, installation, and maintenance of your panels. The company pays 95% of their estimated solar production no matter how much energy your panels actually produce (smoothing out the cloudy days), and pledges to fix your solar panels at no cost if anything goes wrong. The company also offers a 10-year warranty on roof failure due to penetrations required to install the panels. (A standing seam metal roof is the only common roofing style that can hold solar panels without penetrations.)

Sunrun has two main options: lease or buy. The lease option costs almost nothing up front – precisely nothing for some customers – and offers immediate electric bill savings. It locks in a utility rate (with a maximum allowance for inflation) and the maintenance package for 20 years. The buy option is either a full payment up front or a PPA (power purchase agreement) in which a lender pays the cost of the panels in exchange for 10 to 20 years of reduced electric bill payments. Homeowners can only get incentives like tax credits if they own their panels.

I can’t figure out what happens after the 20-year lease period ends. Maybe Sunrun offers a package to renegotiate, and they disconnect if you decline? I have similar concerns for when you sell your home – does the buyer need to choose between picking up the lease and having a bunch of dead solar panels on their roof? Just a few things to ask about if you consider this company’s offer of stress-free solar.

Learn more about Sunrun here.

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