In an attempt to recover from sinking valuations, many of the largest solar companies in the U.S. are now focusing on selling solar loans as opposed to their primary leasing offerings.
The goal is to improve their cash flow positions, which have never been good as their lease products do not pay off until many years into their 20 year terms. Also, word is finally spreading that solar leases are expensive over the long term and homeowners are looking for alternatives.
So are loans from these solar giants better than their leases?
Of course not. They’ll figure to be just as expensive.
It’s simple, any company already in a fragile position cannot afford to make even less per customer. Their overpriced systems will simply be offered via loans instead of leases.
The marketing strategy is still the same; enter markets where homeowners pay about $0.20 per kilowatt hour or more for their electricity and offer a slightly less expensive alternative.
For example, these companies can sell a 10 or 20 year loan to homeowners by stating that you’ll see immediate savings on your electric bill by switching to solar power. Their loan products figure to offer solar at about $0.13-$0.15 per kilowatt hour.
On the other hand, if homeowners get a fair price for solar, they can seeing pricing as low as $0.06 per kilowatt hour. This is pricing only available from contractors that do not want to become the new power companies. They just collect a modest fee for the installation. Homeowners will then be allowed to benefit the most from their solar panel systems.
Yes, homeowners will prefer solar loans over solar leasing in the coming years. They will also want loans that are based on a fair price for solar panel systems. The large solar companies simply have too much overhead and unrealistic profit expectations in order to offer a fair price for solar power.
Financing for solar is much more abundant than it was just a few years ago. Back then, many could only go solar via leasing due to lack of alternative means of paying for solar. The situation is completely different now. Plentiful solar financing will enable the smaller solar installer to compete much more effectively.
As with any other major purchase decision, smart homeowners will do their due diligence when considering solar power. They will know to look much past how much one company says they can save them per month. Total cost, quality of product, quality service, and loan terms are all considered, among other items. After all these factors are considered, solar loans from these large companies will be easily passed up.