Installing solar panels is a great way to cut your energy bill and help the environment. Both owning and renting have distinct benefits, depending on where in the country you live.
"Typically, you will save more money in the long run by buying solar panels," said Sarah Hancock, a solar energy expert based in Utah. "Once the panels are paid off, you will own them and all of the energy that they produce, essentially making it so that you do not have to pay for electricity."
You'll also get to take advantage of federal and state tax credits that are not available to renters. Owning is especially beneficial if you live in a state with low electricity prices like Washington, Idaho and Louisiana, where the leasing cost might negate the money you're saving on electricity.
However, if you live in a state with high energy costs — like Hawaii, Massachusetts or California — renting is your best bet, said Hancock. You won't need to put any money down upfront, and the monthly energy savings should add up to more than your leasing costs, giving you a net savings.
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