Shunfeng, which has almost completed its purchase of the main unit of what was once the world’s largest photovoltaic maker, said on Jan. 7 that its units will get 980 million yuan from China Development Bank for 130 megawatts of solar projects in the northwest region of Xinjiang. The company plans to spend about 25 billion yuan on 3 gigawatts of projects this year, Zhang said in the Jan. 15 interview.
Experts say the leasing process of a solar panel system is similar to leasing a car or even getting cable service. Most don’t require a down payment, but will lock in a rate homeowners will pay each month for as long as 20 years. The rate may be fixed over the contract period or it may rise on an annualized basis. Either way, experts say the savings compared to consumers’ current and future electricity rates will be greater during the life of the contract. The solar panel company or installer is responsible for any panel maintenance or repairs.
A spokesman for Georgia Power, the state’s electric utility, told Georgia Public Broadcasting that the legislation is unnecessary, and that current law which prohibits arrangements between private property owners and private energy companies has “served Georgia well.”
“Installing solar on your home is cheaper and easier than ever – whether buying or leasing,” says Tom Kimbis, Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) vice president of executive affairs. “The average price of a solar system has dropped by more than 50% since 2010, and the new financing models are giving access to more and more Americans.”
Georgia’s fight for more solar power is not just about the environmental benefits of reducing emissions from fossil fuels. Solar, as noted by Michael Kanellos in Forbes, has been deemed a property rights issue, pitting private citizens who want to install their own panels against utilities and regulators.
“I believe we need to do everything we can to encourage renewable resources,” Republican state senator Buddy Carter, told Kanellos. “But I see it more as a private rights issue. I don’t like the government telling you what you can or cannot do with your property.”