What are the best options for a condominium building to add solar panels? (Is it better to rent or to buy?)

Asked by Silent J, San Francisco, CA Sat Nov 8, 2008

My HOA is considering adding solar panels to our building to reduce energy costs, etc. We’re intrigued by companies like Solar City which reduce the up-front capital expense, in effect renting the panels to the building and taking a monthly fee. In comparison, purchasing panels outright costs more (corresponding to how many panels you install), but also entails risk should anything happen to the panels.

Does anyone have experience with or advice for either option? Thanks!

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Glen Mitchell, Agent, Half Moon Bay, CA
Sat Nov 8, 2008
I'm glad you are looking at ways to reduce energy costs. You need to weigh the payoff point too. The panels I've seen depending on how good a location they can be placed payoff in 8-18 years. The typical homeowner moves about every 6-7 years so most of the owners may never realize any value themselves, but will at least be adding value for future home owners.
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