When you choose to Own Your Solar™, you obtain the federal, state, and city tax benefits (consult your cpa). Your home is also protected from being taxed by Arizona state until 2040. All these incentives go to your original costs of the system.
This $28,800 system is able to pay for itself in 5.9 years providing $5.20 dollars for every $1 originally invested. This is considered smart debt.
Since you have invested and own your solar™ system, you benefit from its “Real Property” creating a windfall of equity increases and the incentives. (Note: Even customers with zero tax incentives are better off going for real property equity than the fed tax $9,400 as you are giving up $36,600 in real property equity as allowed by law.)
When Leasing Solar, the contract signs up the property for continued debt with little incentive and savings if at all. The graph demonstrates once signed up for a solar lease, the solar property becomes a consumer debt 20 to 25 years (even on a pre-paid lease). Per IRS, the leased property must be sold at market value assessment or 80% of the original value. Since the solar is leased the solar system it is not considered “Real Property” and none of the solar incentives or benefits belong to the real estate owner.
This example, the system cost was $28,800, the lease is set for a 20 year consumer payment. The issue is most home buyers don’t qualify to purchase a home and a leased solar system at the same time. Real Property can only transfer with a home sell - leases are nearly impossible to transfer so they are converted to ownership anyway for new homeowners to qualify.