It’s been demonstrated that PV rooftop solar systems are a bad deal for America, because they have abysmal returns and can destroy the grid.
But homeowners are being enticed into leasing arrangements because, with leasing, the homeowner can save money. In some states, it’s logical for homeowners to lease PV roof top solar systems.
What’s good for the individual homeowner, may be bad for his neighbors and the rest of the country.
In fact, leasing probably wouldn’t be available without subsidies.
Here is how a typical lease would work.
Based on one of the online calculators, the cost of a PV rooftop solar system in Shreveport, Louisiana, where the homeowner uses 2,000 kWh each month, with a cost of $245 per month for electricity, would save $2,511 per year.
The installation, without labor, would cost $30,731. The payback for the installation would be 12 years.
This is a terrible payback for any investment. Moreover, the homeowner doesn’t want to invest this much money because he has other needs, and is concerned about losing part of the investment if he moves and sells his home.
So he opts to lease the system. A good decision for the homeowner, as he is guaranteed to pay substantially less for the electricity he uses.
The leasing company has a bonanza, and reaps a profit at taxpayer’s expense.
- First, the leasing company receives a federal taxpayer funded subsidy of $9,219, as estimated by the online calculator.
- Some states have special tax incentives and sales tax relief that the leasing company can take advantage of.
- Next, the leasing company receives the agreed upon monthly payment for electricity from the homeowner.
- Next, the leasing company can depreciate the cost of the installation when filing its tax returns.
- Next, the leasing company can sell electricity that’s generated in excess of what the homeowner uses, to the utility. With net-metering, the electricity is sold to the utility at the same price the utility charges, which is approximately 10 cents per kWh in Louisiana. (Probably higher in most other States.)
While the installation would have been a bad investment for the homeowner, the subsidy creates a good investment for the leasing company. Largely at taxpayers expense. Ordinary people are footing the bill for PV rooftop solar.
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