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Solar Insights: Solar Leases, PPAs, etc

So, I’ve been thinking…. Always a bad thing. Nevertheless, over the next few weeks, I’m going to start focusing on the benefits–and challenges– of solar leases, PPA programs, and later, the CityFirst municipal programs that are beginning to sprout up throughout the country.

The leaders of the solar leasing movement are:

  • Solar City in California, Oregon, and Arizona
  • Sun Run for PPAs (Power Purchase Agreements) and/or leases in California, Arizona, and Massachusetts
  • CT Solar Lease, a Connecticut only partially State funded program in partnership with the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund, AFC First Financial Corporation, US Bank, and a visionary company, Gemstone Lease Management, LLC, which is developing other leasing models in other States too.
  • There are others, but these are certainly the ones that are the most prominent. I’ll get to others eventually.

Now, I know I’ve outlined the basics of solar PPAs, solar leases, and municipal CityFirst programs in my Cash Poor series of posts, but I’ve realized I need to spend time and be more specific about each one.

Why? First, because these programs vary greatly. But more importantly, because in talking to both consumers and even some solar professionals, there is still the misperception that solar is a lovely, a green idea, but people can’t afford it right now. It’s not practical. Yada, yada, yada. I’ve tried to assuage these concerns with other posts, but it’s not enough.

Don’t get me wrong. Home equity financing is still a great deal over the long term for residents in most states–though not neecesarily in Connecticut. (I’ll get to that in the next few posts.)

Even so, if you want to keep what’s left of your home equity in reserve AND YOU STILL WANT TO SPEND LESS ON YOUR CURRENT AND FUTURE ELECTRIC BILL, than these three models are clearly the best way to go today with little or no upfront cash.

So, yes, damn it, you can have your solar and afford it too, and I will make the case for why that’s possible with the CT Solar Lease over the next several posts.

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