Potential customers often ask what will happen when they try to sell their homes. The salespeople I spoke with said they allayed such concerns by saying solar adds value by lowering carrying costs. Jurich said the same thing during our interview. For TPO systems, however, there’s no data or reputable study to back that up. The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, a publicly funded research organization in California, has found that an owned system is an asset. TPO systems weren’t shown to provide any net gain—they’re neither assets nor liabilities. (Although, tell that to Jug’s trust.)
Two days after walking through Jug’s ham shack, we made an offer. A week later, just before we entered escrow, we learned the solar array hadn’t belonged to Jug. It was, in the language of the industry, a third-party-owner, or TPO, system, belonging to Sunrun Inc., the largest provider of residential solar in the U.S. I started looking into the TPO model. It’s used less often than it once was, but it’s been important in making residential solar, once out of reach for most people, much more widespread. The reason is simple: Homeowners usually pay nothing upfront. A company like Sunrun puts solar panels on your roof, connects them to your home, and claims a tax benefit for owning the system. Going forward, you pay Sunrun to provide the bulk of your electricity needs instead of your utility.
I’d soon learn that the system was tied to the title of the house. It appeared that if we bought Jug’s place, we’d have to assume his lease arrangement with Sunrun. I wasn’t sure how I felt about this as a buyer, but it definitely piqued my curiosity as a journalist. I set out to examine the value proposition carefully.
read full article at: https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2019-sunrun-solar-panels/
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