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Solar leasing programs have been popular in the US for years. Now, Canadians are catching on.
No doubt, thanks to the success of such programs south of the border, more and more domestic businesses and consumers are signing on with programs that allow them to reap the benefits of clean energy collection and storage without breaking the bank

“[Solar leasing] is growing fast in Canada – especially in jurisdictions where energy prices are becoming prohibitive for businesses and smaller end users,” agrees Ryan Magee, Renewable Program Manager with Canadian Energy, adding, “The fact is that 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,”

With leasing options and more affordable technologies, however, the cost of going solar has never been more accessible to businesses and residential users. That's why solar leasing programs in the US account for over 90% of US's solar development across all sectors, including residential, commercial, industry, and government facility projects.

The trend is also building in Canada. Here are five reasons why ...

No upfront investments: 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. 

Budget-friendly: Aside from no upfront investments, paying for a solar energy system over the course of a long-term lease allows users to assimilate the monthly costs of doing so into their budget. Likening it to leasing a car, 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.”

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

Write-Off: 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: An open lease provides users with options. Says Magee: “Say you buy a 2016 model and then 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.” 

The list of benefits to leasing runs long. And, considering the reliability and cost-saving advantages of going solar, 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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