The company launched a solar leasing program this week that will allow people to buy into a 20-year lease of solar panels for their residential roofs. The goal is to provide a lower-cost option, with no upfront investment to people who are keen on getting green power.
There’s just one catch. The solar lease will cost more than grid power.
The Dallas Morning News reported that an average-size 4-kilowatt array will cost a customer $100 a month and will produce about 450 kilowatt hours of electricity. At current rates, that power would cost the customer $45 to $50, according to the newspaper.
So are people really willing to pay double for clean energy?
Jason Sears, senior manager of product strategy and marketing for Green Mountain Energy, said people are.
“The folks that are interested in solar aren’t just interested in saving money,” Sears said. “They’re interested because they think solar is the right thing to do, and they want to do the right thing.”
Sears said the company has several customers who installed panels on their homes despite a lack of incentives, and they had to pay all the upfront ownership costs.
He said the company has been looking for a way to add a solar panel lease option for quite some time because customers had been asking for it.
“The interest has been great so far,” Sears said. “We’ve had a lot of calls and email from people who want more information and are interested in doing it.”
The program can be tailor-made to suite each individual homeowner in that they can pay an even amount throughout the lease or arrange to have it start low and gradually increase, Sears said.
Also, in the event a homeowner leases an array that produces more power than the owner uses, Green Mountain Energy buys it back at the same rate customers pay for power as part of the utility’s Renewables Rewards program.
“We have one of the most generous rewards programs out there,” Sears said.
While the lease program is double the regular price now, Sears said he believes there is enough momentum behind solar to drive people to the leases.
“We’re really excited about the lease program,” he said. “We really believe it’s the most accessible and affordable way for more people to go solar.”
Image courtesy of Green Mountain Energy.
Editor's Note: Our original headline read "Green Mountain Power," which is another utility in the Northeast. Green Mountain Energy has no affiliation with GMP. We apologize for the confusion.