Own, Lease or Finance: Choosing the Right Financing Option for a Commercial Solar or Storage Project

When modeling a commercial solar or solar-plus-storage project, customers often think the process starts solely with looking at their site. But what’s equally important when considering solar and/or storage — from an economic perspective — is how a company plans to pay for it: whether to purchase the system outright or finance it without any upfront cash outlay.

While a cash purchase typically delivers the best overall return, financing a project is a route many companies take which results in payback terms and energy cost savings that more than meet financial goals. In this case, choosing the best commercial solar financing option is key to maximizing value — and can ensure that funds will be available when the project is ready to begin.

And the good news for companies looking to finance their solar and/or energy storage projects is that they have options — many of which we’ve used to help our customers install commercial solar when they didn’t have the necessary cash flow.

Businesses, schools, and the public sector have a number of commercial solar and energy storage financing mechanisms available to choose from — from property assessed clean energy (PACE) financing and power purchase agreements (PPAs), to operating leases and tax-exempt municipal leases (TEML).  But identifying the best solar financing option for an organization’s budget, risk profile, and financial goals can be complicated without the help of an experienced solar installer or consultant familiar with the options.

For a side-by-side comparison of the best financing options and an explanation of the pros and cons for each, download our free Commercial Solar Financing Guide.

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