We leased our solar panels through solar city (now owned by Tesla). They guaranteed that the panels would generate a minimum of 10,901 kWh per year. If it does not produce that amount, Tesla refunded the difference. Our system saved us an average of $25 a month and we received a reimbursement check of $75 at the end of the year.
Here's a snapshot of our panel's performance the last 5 months we were in the house (we recently sold the house and moved).
So- the savings didn't turn out to be the 30-40% that the salesperson promised, it was more like 6%. So make the decision to lease your solar panels knowing that your money savings aren't going to be huge. Obviously, your savings could be higher or lower, depending on the number of panels, your usage, or the direction of the panels relative to the sun, etc.
We were a bit disappointed in the low cost savings of course, but our primary motivation was to lower our carbon footprint by replacing utility power with clean electricity from solar panels!
Now, there's one more "CON" to leasing solar panels that we didn't take seriously enough when signing the contract. It was a 20 year contract at a variable kWh rate. It made selling our home much trickier. Tesla doesn't service solar builds in our new city, so we couldn't take the panels with us. To get out of the contract, whoever bought our house had to assume the remaining 17 years on our solar panel lease:
In summary, buying your solar panels is the only way I'd go solar again. You get to pocket all the savings from the kWh your panels generate and you can take them down/bring them with you wherever you go, or if you leave them behind- they're an asset and viewed as a bonus to potential buyers.
Cooking & home projects galore! My secret inner-designer revealed.