What is a solar lease?
Third-party ownership, also sometimes called solar leasing, is basically a long-term contract between you and a third party — typically a solar company — that installs, owns and operates the solar electric system on your property.
What is PGE’s involvement?
PGE does not provide any endorsements or recommendations with regard to third-party arrangements.
Solar installations, whether owned by a homeowner or a third party, are typically enrolled in either our Net Metering or Solar Payment Option programs.
Whether you plan to own a solar electric system yourself, or you opt for a third-party arrangement, we recommend choosing a contractor from either the Energy Trust of Oregon’s list of licensed solar contractors or the Oregon Department of Energy’s list of tax-credit-certified technicians (PDF).
What about billing?
If a third-party owned system is installed under Net Metering, your electricity use would be split between two bills:
- The bill from the third party, charging you for the solar power produced.
- Your PGE bill, charging you for any electricity you use beyond what’s supplied by the solar electric system, plus your regular monthly basic charge, adjustments, taxes and fees.
If a third-party owned system is installed under Solar Payment Option, you receive one bill from PGE. A portion of the payment for the generation will appear as a credit on your PGE bill. The remainder of the payment is generally assigned to the third-party owner of the system and PGE mails them a check.
Where to learn more?
Energy Trust of Oregon and Solar Oregon are both good resources for information on solar options. Solar Oregon offers regular workshops that can help you explore the basics of going solar.
You can also download a analysis of solar leasing for residential systems (PDF) from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.