How to Lease Your Roof to Make Passive Solar Income

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The fossil fuel industry is in trouble. Oil and coal reserves will only last a few more decades (at best) and are already struggling to keep up with increased demand.

The renewable energy industries, especially solar, are growing rapidly thanks to government incentives and increased consumer awareness about the negative environmental impact of conventional fuels.

Individuals and entrepreneurs are slowly realizing that solar energy is and will continue to be extremely profitable. Some third-party companies are actively seeking property owners with whom they can set up solar leasing arrangements. This can be extremely lucrative, especially for commercial property owners.

Note: There are two different kind of solar leasing arrangements. In the first, the customer leases a solar array from an installation company for 10 – 20 years, reaping the benefits of cheaper energy without the upfront cost of ownership. In the second, the focus of this post, the consumer leases their roof space to an installation company so the energy produced can be sold back to the local utility.

If you’ve got a roof that’s sitting idle, here are some tips about how to turn it into an energy and money-making space.

  1. Know The Law: Government incentives to encourage solar installation in Europe and Canada are particularly robust. In some cases, it could be more profitable to purchase your own solar system rather than leasing the space to a company who will then reap the tax incentives and rebates.
  2. Size Matters: Most solar lease companies are looking for properties that will give them the most bang for their buck, usually flat roofs between 5,000 and 30,000 square feet.
  3. Sunlight Required: Properties with lots of shade-giving trees or neighboring structures probably aren’t the best candidate for this type of home solar arrangement. Leasing companies want to know that the array will produce enough energy to make it profitable.
  4. Shop Around: Property owners who think their property is suitable for solar leasing should research companies in the area currently seeking roof space. Inquire about rates, insurance, and lease terms. A good lease with include provisions for roof maintenance and repair during and sometimes before installation.
  5. Weigh Benefits and Liabilities: Solar installations can last for up to 40 years if well maintained. However, installation takes its toll on the roof, which is probably only guaranteed for 15 – 20 years. Leasing the roof of an apartment or office building could create issues with tenants, and could require increased property insurance. Make sure you crunch the numbers prior to signing a lease to ensure that the decision will be profitable for years to come.

Lorna Li is the Editor-in-Chief of Green Marketing TV, Entrepreneurs for a Change, and Lifestyle Design Artist. She specializes in Internet marketing for socially responsible business and enjoys writing about green business, social enterprise, and location independent lifestyle. Follow @lornali.

Image Credit: Flickr – waynenf


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