Editor's note: This is part 2 in a series of three posts. Part One
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Mayer’s issue isn’t with the model.
“Leasing makes sense for nonprofits like churches and schools,” he said. “Also for retired people who have no income and it may make sense in cases where people are fully apprised of the risks.”
He said the problem is that solar leasing companies build escalators into their contracts, increasing the price of the solar electricity on the roof each year by 3 to 5 percent. And they use charts showing historical data with utility electric prices going up an average of 5 to 7 percent each year.
“They need to say that to justify the escalators in their own contracts,” Mayer said.
The problem is that utility electric prices have not been going up that dramatically in recent years.
“The three major utilities in California over the past five years have been flat to down,” he said. “PG&E is up just slightly.”
The problem for the solar industry will come if homeowners find themselves paying more for their solar contracts than they would pay to the utility company.
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