Why zero down solar "deals" are a scam
You’ve probably seen them, those ads for solar power systems with the zero down payment plan. Seems like a good deal, huh?
This is one of those “if it seems too good to be true” deals, where you get lured in with the promise of saving money when in reality it ends up costing you more. They typically promote the benefits of solar power, including lower energy bills and reduced carbon emissions, while emphasizing that homeowners can switch to solar with no upfront cost.
But when you read the fine print and do the math, no money down solar is actually only a good deal for the person selling the system; it’s a terrible deal for the homeowner.
How do zero down solar “deals” work?
The zero down solar system you get isn’t yours, it’s leased or provided through a power purchase agreement so that someone else has all the power. They choose the equipment, they install it on your property, and they own it, too. You don’t even get the electricity the system generates for free but must buy it from them at a fixed rate. As well, you end up having no control over the components of the system, its maintenance, nor its performance.
While you might not pay anything up front, you end up paying for it later, and then some. You’re locked into a fixed contract with hidden fees and high interest rates that could (and definitely will) go up at any time over that long-term contract–plus you still end up with a monthly electricity bill–so in the long term you pay a lot more than if you’d bought the system yourself.
The better way to get solar
The better alternative is to buy a solar power system with cash, or through a financing agreement that’s actually fair. When you purchase the system outright you have all the power…literally.
You get to choose what’s in the system and can ensure it’s installed properly. After all, it’s on your property, right? You own it, and you also own all the electricity it generates. If you’re on a hybrid system where you’re still tied to the grid, you can send excess power back into the grid for fair compensation.
And it gets better.
Save boatloads of money on your solar system
If you buy the system you can take advantage of local incentives or rebates, including the 30% credit on your Federal taxes in the US. That means that your taxes in the year the system is installed are reduced by nearly one-third the total cost of your system. Now that is what you call a good deal.
If you choose to go with a solar kit, you can also save about 50% on the cost of using a solar company to provide and install your system. It’s worth looking into.
And forget about the high interest of locked-in lease agreements, if you don’t have the cash up front there are solar retailers who offer financing agreements with fair interest rates and terms through trustworthy companies like Lightstream and Affirm.
Don’t get caught by zero down solar scams
If you’re attracted by the thought of switching to clean, cheap solar energy then you should do your homework and look at all the options, especially the fine print. You’ll find that the attractive no money down “deals” are really just another scam.