Solar Leasing/”Free Solar Panels”/Pay-as-you-go solar agreements now available in Australia

The so-called “free solar panels” (sometimes called “pay-as you-go solar” or “solar leasing”) business model that has already seen major success in the USA and the UK  is now available in Australia. What are often referred to as free solar panels schemes–although not technically free–are actually pay-as-you-go arrangements that allows customers to install a solar power PV system without incurring an up-front cost, whilst at the same time reaping the benefits of having a solar system and saving money on their power bills. Although it may sound too good to be true, the concept is a simple one that has enabled many homes and businesses overseas to overcome main hurdle in going solar–the capital cost associated with installing a system.

How do free solar panel / solar leasing/ pay-as-you-go solar schemes work?

Virtually all homes and businesses in Australia purchase their power from the electricity grid through an electricity retailer. Having a solar PV system essentially enables a home or business to bypass electricity retailers when the sun is shining (and even when it’s not for those who have batteries). With electricity rates across Australia are rising steadily, avoiding the need to purchase power from the grid will become more and more desirable as time goes on. At the time time, the price of having a solar PV system installed has been steadily falling, making solar power an increasingly smart investment. Even so, not everyone has the resources to pay the up-front cost of a system, and conventional financing plans often inflate the ultimate out-of-pocket cost of a system, reducing end return on investment (ROI).

Solar systems are worthwhile investments, but home and business owners may not have the resources to purchase one outright. A free solar panels scheme sidesteps both of these barriers with simple outside-the-box thinking. There are a few different models, but in essence, this is how they work:

1. Operators of free solar panels schemes install a solar system on a customer’s home or business at zero up-front cost to the customer,

2. Free solar panel scheme customers enjoy the financial benefits the system–namely, savings on electricity bills.  Although the deal is most attractive for customers in states with a Solar Feed-in Tariff incentive scheme, even states without one (such as NSW) can potentially reap the benefits depending on their power usage during the day.

The benefits of free solar panel / solar leasing / pay-as-you-go solar schemes to the customer

No upfront cost to install a solar PV system

Purchase electricity at a low, set or an inflation-adjusted rate (and insulate one’s self against steadily rising electricity rates from the big retailers)

Rates are agreed upon at the outset of a 20 year contract term

No liability for the performance of the system–warranties, repairs, system performance are all the responsibility of the scheme operator.

(Have questions? Initiate a dialogue with a Solar Choice broker for 100% obligation and cost-free advice by filling out the Solar Quote Comparison Request form to the right of this page.)

A win-win situation for both customers and scheme operators

Regardless of the details of how a free solar panels arrangement works, the common threads are that: a) they cost the customers nothing, b) customers benefit financially from their solar system and c) the scheme operator also benefits financially, either by ‘skimming off the top’ of the system’s productivity, or by selling power from the system directly to their customers.

Operators will typically sign a power purchase agreement (PPA) with their customers, leasing the system to them for a set duration of time ,with the opportunity to renew the contract in the future. Such a leasing agreement also obviates the need for the customer to worry about maintaining or servicing the system should there be any functionality issues. Customers may also have the option to make payments to gradually purchase and eventually own the system instead of lease it. However, in such a case, the customer may have more responsibilities with regard to the upkeep of the system than under a leasing agreement.

Finding a free solar panels scheme operators in Australia

The Australian solar industry has grown phenomenally since 2009, and with it so has competition. This competition, combined with the steady withdrawal of incentives on both the federal and state levels, has inspired innovation, with many solar PV installation companies offering deals that make them stand out from the pack.

Free solar panels schemes are one such offering that is now available through the Solar Choice network of installers. Fill out the Solar Quote Comparison request form on the right of this page today to initiate a dialogue with one of our brokers and find out if this offer is available in your area of Australia.

© 2012 Solar Choice Pty Ltd

James Martin II


    1. Hi Sunny,

      A number of installers in our network offer finance packages and solar PPAs/leases as you’ve described. If you’re interested, fill out the Quote Request Form to the right of this page to compare quotes from installers in your area to learn more.

  1. Hi, Could you contact me when a leasing scheme is introduced for Melbourne and N.E. Victoria as I would like to sign up. Thks

    1. Hi Angelica,

      Thanks for your comment. A solar leasing scheme deal is now available in Victoria and all other states (excluding Queensland) as an offering through one of the installers on the Solar Choice network. Fill out the Solar Quote Comparison request form to the right of this page or give us a ring on 1300 78 72 73 to learn more about it.

    1. Hi Vince,

      At the moment we have a couple of installers in Queensland and NSW we offer solar leasing through and are hoping to expand this network in 2013. There are other finance options out there that we can help you with, and in the past two months system prices have dropped to an all time low.

      You can fill in the Solar Quote Comparison form to the right of the page and get a FREE, instant quote for up to 7 installers who operate in your area. Alternatively call us directly on 1300 78 72 73 and speak to one of our Solar Brokers.

  2. I am interested in your “free” solar availability. However, would you advise if this service is available at postcode 2541 ( Illaroo NSW)

    1. Hi Rod. At the moment the solar leasing option is only available in northern NSW and southern Queensland. This may change in the future as the network expands, so keep checking back with us. Alternatively, you can sign up for our newsletter or fill out the Solar Quote Comparison request form to the right of this page to ensure that we have you in our database and can contact you again in the future, or sign up for our newsletter to receive updates and other solar-related news.

  3. I see you say that the leasing is only available in some parts on Australia, can you advise if it is available in Melbourne, Victoria.

    1. Hi Andrew.

      At the moment the solar leasing deal is not available in Melbourne, but this may change in the future. If you’d like to be notified if/when it does become available, get in touch with us and we can let you know. Either fill out the form to the right of this page and add a comment re: what you’re looking for, or give us a ring on 1300 78 72 73 to speak with one of our staff. Our services are 100% free to our clients. Best of luck!

  4. tell me more about the leasing to buy scheme, please!interested in the terms & conditions for LG panels & inverter to match 3-4kw system.

    1. Hi John.

      Thanks for the comment. Under some solar leasing agreements it can make more economic sense simply to continue on with the lease rather than leasing to own–the leasing company is actually responsible for all maintenance of system components. In this respect, it is not so important to the solar system user (yourself) which components are used, so much as whether or not you have to pay for maintenance–which you won’t under most schemes.

      We would be happy to discuss your options further with you. Give is a ring on 1300787273 if you’d like or fill out the form to the right of this page. Our services are 100% free to our customers.

      At the moment the solar lease agreement is only available in certain parts of Australia, but eventually it will be available everywhere. This is great news because in the countries where such schemes are available they have proven themselves to be very popular.

    2. Hi John,

      The beauty of the solar leasing agreement is that the brand of the components doesn’t matter to the customer so much as it does to the installer–they don’t want to have to come out and fix broken parts over the lifetime of the system.

      Please contact us directly so find out if we have an installer who offers the solar leasing option in your area of Australia. You can fill out the form to the right of this page or call us on 1300 78 72 73.

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