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Terrible experience selling house with SolarCity/Tesla Energy panel lease on it

Uncle Paul

Well-Known Member
Nov 1, 2013
Canyon Lake,CA
The lease program was initiated so people could get a solar package on a pay as you go basis. Did not need to pay the entire bill up front.
Idea was that the lease payment would be less than the energy costs, so it was a no out of pocket deal where on an average each month your cost of the the lease would be less than you would have paid the Utility company. A financial no brainer...until it comes time to sell your home.
Similar to leasing a car. Works out best if you continue to keep your car till the end of your lease. Getting out easly can sometimes be painful.

Had a friend that sold his solar lease home. Everything went through smoothly and the new buyer liked the idea that he would still save every month on his electricity bill.
There may be a way if you purchase the system from them but it may not make financial sense. For prospective people I would highly recommend NOT leasing a system. This is your home, make sure you own the roof you sleep under...
You're right, it started making sense to purchase the inherited PPA outright starting a couple years ago but doesn't save me any money, just sense of control that comes with "taking back" my roof. At this point it is a wash whether I purchase now or right before selling the house (which won't happen anytime soon). So might as well keep status quo. I guess there REALLY is no way out other than that.
I have been trying to buy out the Tesla/Solar City Lease I was forced to take over when we purchased our house 3 years ago. The lease sale might be nearly complete but the way Tesla delays everything is a nightmare. When they came back with a $20,000 price on a 5 year old system that won't produce $20,000 worth of power in the next 20 years I complained. 6 months later they have agreed to return $2000 after I pay off the full amount plus tax and I am going for it just to get them out of my life. Solar City did the original install/lease before we owned the house and and all panels face due east. The system is blocked by trees on three sides and these trees were here when they installed the system. In the last 3 years the system has been out of service 25% of the time due to failures. They fix it for nothing but it takes months to show up. Tesla refuses to show us the 3rd party assessment that is supposed to be what the market value of the system is. This is what they are supposed to consider when setting the buyout price. Short of hiring a lawyer , I don't know how to force them to do this. I am convinced that hiring a lawyer will just mean more money lost. Dealing with Tesla has been a bad experience and I am convinced that some day a group action suit will make a lot of lawyers a lot of money. In my opinion, solar leases are a scam. I believe that solar panels properly installed and maintained are a good thing but a lease is a terrible rip off.


Well-Known Member
Mar 4, 2017
SF Bay Area
Interesting article @BGbreeder. Our town like most I guess now in Calif require solar on new houses. A few of our neighbors in an adjacent development that was built a few years ago have small panel arrays on their homes done through the developer. This was before being mandated by our town for new construction. One of the owners works at my husband’s company and last week we saw a Tesla van installing a number of panels on his roof area. Smaller home with a number of roof sections. Last February/March he had 2 PWs installed by Tesla and saw his set up. Next time we see him I think I’ll inquire how his developer sold him the solar. We purchased our system (owned home for more than a decade) and for an existing homeowner I think they’d stand a good chance of getting a better deal maybe with a home equity loan if they didn’t have the savings to pay for it. A new construction home buyer however doesn’t even own the house yet so no equity in the home and sounds like no choice to install later. This is something we didn’t have to consider.


Well-Known Member
Supporting Member
Dec 2, 2016
Northern California
A house close to us had solar panels. It went into foreclosure and they removed the panels. Must have been leased, but what would they do with used panels?
Secondary market. Not every installation needs the latest and greatest. My neighbor took off some 220W panels and replaced them with new panels. His daughter was taking the old panels and adding them up on her ground-based array.

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