Little To No Money Down On A Lease With A Guaranteed Rate Sound Good?

SUFFERN, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — New Yorkers pay some of the highest electric bills in the country. But what if we told you that your bill could go down drastically and you don’t have to pay a thing, that you’d practically get something for nothing?

On Friday, CBS 2’s Don Champion investigated if the “solar solution” is too good to be true.

A constant beam, the sun will soon help lighten the load on David Sitver’s wallet.

He said he’s getting solar panels installed on his roof, and the best part is he’s not paying anything because he’s leasing them.

“I probably wouldn’t have done it had I had to pay for the panels up front,” Sitver told Champion.

Part of the reason leasing is so easy today is the cost of producing solar panels has gone down drastically. Years ago, an installation like the one Sitver was getting would’ve cost $35,000, but that price has been slashed nearly 70 percent, Champion reported.

Thanks to government incentives the company OnForce Solar can offer New Yorkers panels with no money down or little money down that they’ll get back at tax time. In return, homeowners buy the solar-generated power for 20 years at a guaranteed low rate.

“The time to do this is very good right now,” said David Sandbank, of OnForce Solar. “David can now say, ‘OK, I know what I’m going to be paying for my electricity, tomorrow, the next day and 15 years from now.’”

The panels could generate 80 percent or more of a homeowner’s power need, slashing electric bills.

The catch is leasing isn’t for everyone. Experts told Champion potential solar panel users must have a south-, southeast- or southwest-facing roof with minimal shading, and a good credit score.

Solar energy is catching on so much that CUNY recently built a solar map for city residents. With it, people can look up their address and get an estimate on how going solar would impact their wallet.

Ron Spalter helped with the map and calls solar energy a viable option.

“Renewable energy is definitely a way of the future,” said Spalter, CUNY’s deputy chief operating officer. “We’ve got to figure out ways to avoid grid constraint because as the city grows, demand is greater.”

So the idea is to turn to natural resources now — to power our future.

It’s easier to install solar panels in the outer boroughs. New Jersey and Connecticut also  have solar incentives for homeowners, but they’re not as generous as the ones offered in New York, Champion reported.

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