Solar leases can deter homebuyers, claim

A report in Sunday’s LA Times has highlighted the problems third-party-owned solar systems can throw up when selling a home.

According to the article, by Kenneth Harney, potential buyers can be put off a purchase by the presence of a leased solar rooftop either by the fear they will not pass the credit checks to take up the existing lease or that the lease itself represents an unattractive deal.

In the latter case, buyers can often demand the seller buy out the remainder of the lease, at a cost of between $20,000 and $30,000.

The article quotes Steve Olszewski, senior vice president of operations for leasing company Clean Power as stating there are few instances of people not wanting solar and that, in 95 per cent of cases, leases are assumed by the new owner or the seller acquires the system outright or pays off the lease, thereby doing little to allay the claims made by the writer.

The market’s biggest player, SolarCity, told the LA Times it has a 12-man team devoted to negotiating the smooth handover of leases during sales and has conducted almost 3,000 transactions to date, from among its claimed 190,000 customers in 16 U.S. states.