It’s no wonder solar leasing is the fastest-growing sector of the industry. By removing the upfront cost barrier to solar power installations, solar leasing enables people across the country to go solar. Solar providers and solar contractors alike have been quick to add leasing to their services.
Now, a new player is entering the solar leasing market.
Constellation Energy, the nation’s largest wholesale power seller, announced that they are offering residential customers in Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Ohio and Pennsylvania the option to lease solar panel power systems.
Constellation Energy has already been leasing home solar systems for commercial customers.
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Businesses reacted favorably to the idea of no upfront costs, and the popular program is now being expanded to include residential customers. Constellation currently owns about 95 megawatts of solar installations.
How does solar leasing work?
Solar leasing agreements typically works like this. The solar provider will first ensure that your roof is a good candidate for solar power, with enough sunlight exposure to make solar worth the cost.
The provider will purchase the solar panel systems, have them installed, and then operate and maintain the units on a 20-year-term lease.
Customers will be able to select leases with either a small down payment or zero down payment. Every system will be supported by a guarantee of continuous electrical power and a warranty that covers all the equipment.
The lease program will allow residents to choose the size of the system, which typically translates to how many solar panels they would like to power their home. The company expects that on average, 40% to 50% of the customer’s electricity use will be powered by the solar power system.
Customers will pay monthly lease payments for 20 years. In a typical solar lease, lease payments are less than the monthly electrical bill. Should customers choose to lease a larger solar power system, any excess energy the system produces will be purchased by Constellation Energy.
Constellation Energy will offer the leases through their Leasing Powered by Constellation Energy brand for all the states involved except Maryland. In Maryland, the leases will be offered through their subsidiary, BGE Home.
Solar installer Astrum Solar will be responsible for the installation and service support for the solar power systems. Constellation Energy recently invested $3 million into the solar company.
A Fortune 500 company with revenues of $14.3 billion in 2010, Constellation Energy operates over 35 power plants in 11 states. The company suffered setbacks during the recent recession, when exposure to Lehman Brothers prompted Constellation Energy stock to plummet. Constellation Energy avoided a buyout by selling their nuclear energy assets to French power company EDF.
Since then, the utility appears to be looking to green energy to raise its profile. Constellation Energy acquired Clipper Windpower’s Criterion Wind Project in Garrett County, Maryland in 2010, and added 28 additional wind turbines to the project.
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