The city of Lancaster in Southern California has a great way to bring affordable solar power to its residents: leased solar panels. Through a recently unanimously passed plan and a partnership with SolarCity, Lancaster residents will have the opportunity to lease solar panels and reap the renewable benefits.

From what I can tell, the leasing of the solar panels will work like this: a company will handle evaluation of the viability of solar panel installation as well as the processing and permitting that follows. It is unclear whether the panels are installed by the company or if this sizable task is left to the homeowner.

Panels for a three or four bedroom home might lease for $110 a month, but electricity savings could amount to hundreds over the year. Apparently SolarCity is guaranteeing a home will save on the cost of their electric bill, even accounting for the cost of the lease, by making up any difference. Sounds like a good deal to me, but I wonder how this affects the lessor’s bottom line.

Eligible residents must own their home and have a credit rating above 700 to qualify.

Could this be the business model to usher in widespread adoption of residential solar panels?

Credit: Housing Watch