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LongRun Aug18

The cost of going solar has never been more accessible to businesses and residential users. This is thanks in large part to solar equipment leasing programs that allow consumers to reap the benefits of clean energy collection and storage without going into debt from the start.

“People want to go solar; they want to go green. This applies especially to businesses in provinces like Ontario where energy prices keep going up. Traditionally, however, the big issue with going solar has been finding that lump sum of money to buy a $30-$50k system upfront,” says Ryan Magee, Renewable Program Manager with Canadian Energy.

Leasing programs have been around for a number of years. South of the border, they account for over 90% of US's solar development across all sectors, including residential, commercial, industry, and government facility projects. Similar solar equipment leasing programs do exist in Canada but have yet to rise to the same level of popularity.

“It's starting to become common here in places where energy prices are becoming prohibitive for businesses and smaller end users,” adds Magee, noting, “It's catching on fast. Leasing solar equipment is really is becoming the next big thing.”

Here are five reasons why ...

No upfront costs: Like leasing a car, leasing solar equipment allows businesses to adopt clean energy technology with no down payment. As a result, that $50k system becomes affordable through monthly payments until eventually it's paid off in full.  And the more money owners put down on their lease every month, the more they own that asset. 

Easier to budget: Aside from spending nothing upfront to obtain a solar system, paying for that system over the course of a long-term lease allows users to assimilate those monthly costs into their budget. Returning to the car analogy, Magee adds, “Most people don't look at a BMW and say 'I can't afford $80k'. They take a look at the monthly payments and work out how they can make that part of their budget.' It's just an easier way to manage that large cost.”

Hold the tax: Leasing allows end users to defer the upfront HST. This is a benefit to both businesses and individual consumers.

Debt-free: Paying for an asset outright, whether through personal funds or a bank loan, turns it immediately into a debt. This affects a business's balance sheet and can make it more difficult to borrow money down the road for future expansions, hires, or new equipment purchases. Leasing, on the other hand, turns that purchase into a monthly operating expense that can be written off.

Greater flexibility: Simply put, says Magee, an open lease gives users options: “Say you buy a 2016 model and then the 2017 comes around. You can easily move up to that model by adjusting the terms of your lease. On top of that, if you acquire the funds to purchase the entire system outright one year or even one week after signing the lease, you have the option of totally paying it off.” 

Certainly, leasing has its advantages over purchasing. And given the benefits of adopting solar technology, those advantages are worth discussing in any boardroom or kitchen.

Ryan Magee is a Renewable Program Manager with Canadian Energy, which offers leasing programs through Go Long Run. For more, visit www.cdnrg.com.


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