Solar Panels Go Mainstream With Residential Leasing

The obvious reason to switch to solar power would seem to be to cut our dependence on oil, but solar power experts say that it's more likely to alleviate our dependence on coal, which is polluting our air and water at a much faster rate than oil. And oil is not our main source of electric power generation, which is really what we need to run our daily lives comfortably.

"Obviously, putting solar on your house saves coal," Seth Masia, editor of Solar Todaymagazine told HousingWatch. (The Department of Energy says that more than half the electricity in the U.S. comes from coal.)

"Coal-burning plants are still polluting our air and water," Masia says. "Coal is just as, if not more destructive, than oil. Putting the panels on our house will ultimately reduce our dependance on coal."

The thought of installing the panels, which normally would send a homeowner into a panic due to high cost, is now becoming easier through leasing programs, which are becoming more readily available. A Colorado resident, Masia currently pays $100 a month for his electric bill. A solar lease could reduce that to $70 a month, which would be a considerable savings to him. SolarCity is one of the largest companies at the moment leasing solar power.

"With $30 per month savings that's $360 per year, which is $7,200 over the 20-year life of the system or term of the lease," Masia said. "In the real world, if the cost of electricity rises 2 percent annually and your monthly payment remains fixed at $70 per month, you'll save $8,750 over the life of the lease."