Energy prices are soaring, Congress is on vacation (or is it staycation?) and they still haven't passed the Renewable Energy Tax Credits. Residential solar is an attractive alternative to traditional home energy, but the initial cost of the systems put them out of reach for most Americans. That's why the state of Connecticut is taking matters into their own hands and launching a program that will make it possible for median income families to outfit their homes through a subsidized solar leasing program.
On Friday, the Governor M. Jodi Rell, unveiled the Connecticut Solar Lease Program. The program is run by the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund (CCEF), and it is the first of its kind here in the US. By pulling together a number of rebates and tax credits, the CCEF is able to lease solar energy systems to CT residence for a relatively low fixed monthly rate.
To qualify for the program, Connecticut residents must pass a credit check, be below 150% of the areas median income, and install it on a 1-4 family owner occupied structure. Depending on your homes energy needs and the installation needs, some systems can be as little as $50 a month while others could run over $200. They estimate that for a typical home with a 15 year lease will pay about $120 a month.
There are some drawbacks to the system. As with any lease you don't own the equipment, but you are responsible for maintenance it. They estimate that you should not have to make any repairs (other than for weather damage) in the first ten years. Another tricky area is when you want to sell your house. Assuming your buyer wants to, and can pass a credit check, they can assume the lease but if they don't want to, you are stuck paying to have the system uninstalled.
Despite these drawbacks this is a huge step forward in empowering the public to seek out cleaner and cheaper sources of energy, reducing our nations overall dependence on fossil fuels.