The Perfect Property

Selling A Home With Leased Solar Panels: What Are Your Options?

by Zachary Thompson

Leasing solar panels is a good way to make your home more eco-friendly and generate some green energy without making such a huge up-front investment (as you would if you were to buy solar panels.) However, things can get a bit complicated if you decide to move and are considering selling the home with leased solar panels. You really can't just pop the panels off and take them with you… so what are your options?

Sign the contract over to the new owner.

Many homeowners worry that buyers may steer clear of a house with solar panels because they don't want the hassle. However, there are a lot of buyers interested in green living who would love solar panels. A subset of these buyers would not be able to afford a home with fully-owned solar panels installed. However, like you, they can afford a monthly payment towards leased solar panels. Since they get the benefit of green energy without the high price tag, they'll often be willing to go through the sometimes cumbersome process of having the solar panel lease signed over to them.

How easy this is to do will depend on the company you're leasing the solar panels from. Some companies put a term right in their contract that allows you to sign the panels over to a new owner with a little simple paperwork. Other companies charge a fee and put a bit more red tape in your way. The best way to approach this is to take your contract with the solar panel company to a real estate lawyer and ask exactly what you'd need to do to sign the lease over to someone else. Then, when you find a buyer, your realtor and lawyer can give them a clear description of the process and guide them through it.

Buy out the remainder of the lease.

Most solar panel lease contracts, if you read them closely, actually give you the option of buying out the lease at any point. If you do buy out the lease, you then own the solar panels. You can then choose to remove them from the house and either sell them to someone else or take them to your new home.

Again, you'll want to have a lawyer read your contract and tell you exactly what will be involved with buying out the lease. If you don't have the funds to buy out the lease, consider taking out a loan, selling the panels, and then paying off the loan with the proceeds. You can then sell the home without the solar panel lease, which opens you up to a much wider array of buyers. This approach might be a good one if you live in an area where there's just no demand for homes with solar panels.