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  • Financing a Residential Solar System

    Financing your home solar system - more details for the curious

    A number of excellent detailed reports on financing solar are now available and are listed here. None (except the RUCO Consumer Guide to Rooftop Solar Photovoltaic (PV)) are Arizona specific, but the financing options available in Tucson and throughout Arizona are similar to those in other states. However in Arizona, residential PPA’s (Power Purchase Agreements) are NOT available, although widely used in Arizona in commercial and governmental projects and sometimes called SSA’s (Solar Service Agreements). So for most residential solar consumers, the choices are buy, loan or lease.

    The 2015 Arizona Legislature passed SB 1465 ,   which has a long list of disclosures that must now be made in any solar lease or purchase document and requires that solar customers be given a five day right to rescind any solar contract. Hopefully, this new law will limit or eliminate the unscrupulous solar vendors who still appear to exist in Arizona, despite some recent prosecutions of the most outrageous solar profiteers.

    Be sure to get several quotes and references and verify the valid contractor licenses of any solar installer you deal with. Likewise, be sure to research the background of any solar financing entity you are referred to or deal with to assure they are legitimate and will be around to assist you if any problems arise.

    Here is an annotated list of those reports, in order of usefulness to Arizona consumers:

    1. A Homeowners Guide to Solar Financing: Leases, Loans, and PPA’s, published by the Clean Energy States Alliance (CESA) (May, 2015), found at

    This well-written guide covers all forms of financing solar projects. Detailed enough but not overwhelming. Checklist of most important items. Does not fully discuss negatives of lease escalation clauses or potential issues with sale of house with solar lease.

        2.    Solar Power for Your Home: A Consumer’s Guide, by LSU Ag Center,d.aWw


    If you want additional detail, this is your guide. It includes a 60 question checklist for all potential solar buyers/lessees, a full section comparing buying vs leasing and a focus on “predicted savings,” often the key to anticipated return on investment which can be inflated or distorted. Short solar leasing v ownership calculator introduction. Basics of solar operation as well as financing.