Do You Get a Tax Credit for Leasing Solar Panels? Unveiling the Truth in 2022

Understanding Solar Power Leasing

Yes, you can receive a tax credit for leasing solar panels in the United States. This falls under the federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC), which allows you to deduct 26% of the cost of installing a solar energy system from your federal taxes in 2023. However, the benefit typically goes to the system owner, which would be the leasing company, not you, unless your lease agreement specifies otherwise.

Sure thing! Let’s delve deeper into this.

Solar power leasing is a way for homeowners to have a solar system installed on their rooftop without making a large upfront investment. A solar lease is an agreement between you (the homeowner) and a solar provider. The provider installs the renewable energy system on your home, and in return, you pay a monthly lease fee to the provider.

So, what’s the difference between owning and leasing solar energy systems? Ownership means you purchase the system outright and are responsible for keeping it up and running. Leasing, on the other hand, means you only pay for the use of the system while maintenance and repair responsibilities lie with the provider. Sounds straightforward, right? The twist comes when we talk about the solar energy tax credit and who is eligible.

Understanding Tax Credits for Solar Energy

Understanding Tax Credits for Solar Energy

The Federal Solar Tax Credit, also known as the Investment Tax Credit (ITC), allows homeowners to deduct a portion of their solar costs from their taxes. It’s an incentive designed to encourage more folks to switch from traditional electricity to clean, renewable solar energy.

As we usher in 2022, you may be wondering, “do leased solar panels qualify for energy credit?” Actually, the person or company that owns the solar system—not the one who uses the electricity—is entitled to this credit.

The Connection between Solar Leasing and Tax Credits

Consider this real-life example: meet Jim, an average homeowner. Jim leases a solar power system for his home. He loves the green energy it produces and the lower electricity bills he enjoys. But when tax season rolls around, he finds out he’s not eligible for the Federal Solar Tax Credit. Why? Because the credit applies to the owner of the solar system, and in this case, that’s the leasing company, not Jim.

In other words, the fact that you’re leasing, not owning the panels, means you don’t qualify for a solar panel tax credit. The leasing company gets the financial reward instead, while you get the environmental rewards and a reduced energy bill.

Frequently Asked Questions: Solar Leasing Vs. Tax Credit

Frequently Asked Questions: Solar Leasing Vs. Tax Credit

Does a solar lease allow me to receive a federal tax credit? As I mentioned earlier, no. The leasing company—being the owner of the solar system—gets the federal tax credit.

Does purchasing solar panels guarantee the tax credit? Yes. As the owner, you’re eligible for the federal tax credit. However, be mindful that the ITC rate will decrease in the coming years.

Can my tax liability be offset if I lease solar panels? No. Leasing the solar panel doesn’t make you eligible for a tax credit because you’re not the system owner.

What happens if I install solar on rental properties I own? As long as you own the solar system installed, you’re eligible for the tax credit.

Is it possible to get the tax credit if I finance my solar panels instead of paying upfront? Yes. In this scenario, you’re essentially the owner of the system, and hence, you’re eligible for the tax credit.

You can find a more detailed discussion on solar leasing in this article: How Does a Solar Lease Work?

Pros and Cons of Solar Leasing Versus Buying

Pros and Cons of Solar Leasing Versus Buying

Just like renting versus buying a home, both leasing and buying have their benefits and pitfalls.

Leasing means minimal upfront costs and no maintenance headaches. However, you miss out on the tax credit and may find issues if you decide to sell your home before the lease term is over.

On the contrary, buying may require more upfront cost, but you become eligible for the tax credit. Plus, it enhances the property value of your home.


So, back to our initial question: “do you get a tax credit for leasing solar panels?” As you’ve seen, the answer is a clear ‘no’. But it still might be the best option for you, depending on your budget and long-term plans.

And always remember, when it comes to financial matters like tax credits, it’s best to consult a tax expert or solar consultant to understand your specific circumstances better.

Happy Solar-Hunting!

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Elliot has 20+ years of experience in renewable technology, from conservation to efficient living. His passion is to help others achieve independent off-grid living.

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