Switching from ownership to leasing in times of Covid-19


Dutch solar product distributor Enie is offering to buy installed rooftop installations for around 85% of their initial cost and will then pay homeowners a monthly fee to rent the systems, under its ZonneRuilen program.

“This initiative is aimed at helping PV system owners in strong need of cash in these difficult times,” Enie CEO Patrick van der Meulen told pv magazine. “We pay approximately 85% of the initial investment and the owner of the system still benefits [from] the advantages of a leasing contract.”

The company specified, however, it will perform technical and financial due diligence before each purchase. “We tend not to buy installations with poor design and components,” said Van der Meulen. “This means we check the installation and components remotely and do a credit check. If we have doubts, we schedule a site visit.” The remote check takes around 15 minutes, according to the Enie chief executive.


Van der Meulen said the monthly payments offered to solar system owners who join the scheme will typically meet around 85% of their electricity bills. Those monthly bills are likely to be higher as homeowners will no longer receive the direct benefits of the rooftop system but the CEO added: “The lease period is 10 years, after 10 years they can become the owner of the installation again.”

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The ZonneRuilen scheme will be funded by Enie and borrowings from Dutch lender Triodos Bank.

“ZonneRuilen was an idea that we had in 2017 when we started with [leasing],” said Van der Meulen. “But at that time we decided to only focus on [leasing]. Now, with the outbreak of the coronavirus, it came back on the table and a week ago we launched it in the Netherlands.”

Solar leasing, hugely popular in the U.S., has thus far seen limited uptake in Europe.


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