Rent or buy a photovoltaic system

If environmental protection is also important to your energy supply, you are up to date with a solar system. With green electricity from your roof, you have the change in your hands and can become even more independent of commercial electricity suppliers.

The average electricity price is currently 35 cents per kWh. An example: A German household with three or more people consumes around 4,000 kWh per year. This means that costs of 1,400 euros per year are incurred for the electricity alone. You can reduce these high expenses by producing solar power. You do not necessarily have to buy an (expensive) PV system. Renting a photovoltaic system can also be worthwhile for you. Although the purchase of a solar system earns the invested sum back in a shorter time, rental models offer direct savings compared to mains electricity and, at the same time – in the flexible rental model – the option to take over at any time.

Rent photovoltaics – this is how the different rental models work

If you opt for a rental model, the acquisition costs for the solar panels system are eliminated. Instead, you pay a monthly rental fee for your solar system over 20 years.

When it comes to the various rental models, the most common difference is between the two basic concepts of your roof vs. someone else’s roof.

If you do not have a roof on which a photovoltaic system can be sensibly placed, renting someone else’s roof area can be a good idea to have a PV system installed there. So you can benefit from a solar system without a suitable roof surface. With this rental model, the landlord(s) usually receives a share of four to six percent of the annual yield of the installed system in the roof area. However, due to the constantly falling feed-in tariff, renting out your roof area is becoming less and less lucrative.

The other rental model allows the photovoltaic system to be rented on your roof. You are usually bound to a contract term of 20 years. Depending on the provider, the PV system automatically becomes your property at the end of the term or can be taken over for a small contribution. Some companies also offer you a protection package that covers the maintenance costs.

How much does it cost to rent a solar system?

The rental fee you pay for your solar system depends on several factors. On the one hand, it plays a major role in whether you want to cover your total consumption with the photovoltaic system. To make yourself as independent as possible from electricity providers, you need a correspondingly powerful system. As a rule, you can achieve independence of up to 80%.

How much electricity you feed into the grid yourself also indirectly affects your rental costs. You will be paid a fixed price according to the EEG remuneration.

This profit reduces the costs that you pay monthly for the system. This makes it even cheaper to rent the photovoltaic system.

Here is an example calculation to give you an idea of the costs.

annual electricity consumption: up to 4,000 annual electricity costs: 1,800 €1size of the system: 15 modules – a total of 6.5 kW roof orientation: south roof material: bricks roof pitch: 30°43 percent independence example rental rate over 20 years: 143 euros

This results in savings over 25 years of 36 € / month or 428 € / year and thus a total saving of 10,700 € over 25 years.

Pros and cons of PV rental

The purchase price of a PV system is, of course, always dependent on the respective size. For a group of four with an average power consumption of 4,000 kWh, an 8 kW system is usually suitable, for which you should budget 19,475 euros (assuming a system for a 38m² roof and a system size of 20 modules with a total of 8 kWp). A price that pays for itself quickly but is not exactly low either. For many, the high purchase price is the most important argument that keeps them from purchasing.

However, you don’t have to do without a profitable PV system. Because this is where rent comes into play. A major advantage of this concept is that planning and implementation are uncomplicated. Because already during the configuration of the PV system, the provider takes over a large part of the planning and usually selects components with the best price-performance ratio to put together your solar system efficiently and economically. You will receive your complete turnkey system in return for paying the monthly rent.

In addition, the monthly rental price for the solar system does not only include the solar system and the associated components. Costs for repairs, insurance, remote diagnosis, and troubleshooting in the event of a problem are included in the rent. Even if you can no longer generate income from the solar power produced due to a defect in the system, you are covered by renting.

At first, the bond over 20 years seems disadvantageous and inflexible. System tenants remain flexible, as the solar system can be taken over at any time within the rental option by making a one-off payment.

Even at the end of the rental period, the system can be taken over for a symbolic euro. Since most mini solar panels today have a life expectancy of over 30 years, you can continue to generate electricity for another ten years – completely free of charge.

If you are considering renting or buying a solar system, consider the pros and cons of both models. In the following table, you can see the pros and cons of renting a PV system.

What is a photovoltaic hire purchase?

If you inform yourself about renting or buying photovoltaics, you will always read the term rent. Strictly speaking, this is not quite correct because, with most providers, you can trigger the system at any time.

This makes it your property. This allows you to carry out a so-called hire purchase.

The installments that you make as rent are then used as financing. After the initial investment, you pay off the off grid solar system monthly. Alternatively, you can pay the remaining amount with a one-time payment.

How much does it cost to buy a solar system?

Do you want to buy the solar system instead of renting it? This also allows you to produce your electricity cheaply and sustainably. Whether buying or renting is better suited to an individual situation depends on several criteria. Therefore, it is best to seek comprehensive advice to find the best solution for you.

The acquisition costs for a photovoltaic system can be overwhelming at first. That is understandable since, in this case, you invest a lot of money to benefit from a solar system on your roof.

But this sum, which initially seems relatively high, usually pays for itself after just a few years. In this way, you can generate high profits once the costs for your solar system have been amortized.

Just like with the rental model, the same applies to your purchased solar system: if you also have a power storage unit installed, you can further increase your degree of self-sufficiency and the profitability of your solar system.

Advantages and disadvantages when buying a photovoltaic system

The high investment costs initially represent a hurdle for many people interested in photovoltaics. But after purchasing the system, you, as the operator, are independent and can enjoy the system’s advantages for the entire service life, which is usually at least 30 years own PV system.

You are flexible and independent with a purchased PV system. In this case, you can also often benefit from attractive nationwide and regional funding offers you cannot claim within the rental option. Derzolar Funding Service will be happy to advise you at any time on your funding options and will also support you with the application.

There is also a solution for the maintenance and any spare parts costs that may arise: By booking the solar service package, you are fully insured and do not have to worry about unexpected costs.

What is photovoltaic leasing?

Some providers also make PV systems available to their customers as leasing devices. The system remains the property of the leasing company for the entire contract term and beyond.

The biggest difference and, simultaneously, a disadvantage for you is that you, as a homeowner, must pay for maintenance and repair work. So you pay for weather-related repairs, theft, or willful destruction by third parties yourself. If you rent the system, on the other hand, the providers usually pay the costs for solar panel maintenance.

For whom is it worth renting a PV system, and when should I buy it?

Renting is a perfect solution if you don’t want to make a big initial investment. On the other hand, you cannot avoid the high acquisition costs with a purchase.

Renting a PV system is worthwhile if you value independence and ecologically generated electricity, especially if you don’t want to take out a loan.

A purchase can make sense if you already have the necessary capital. It should not be tied to this, i.e., it should be invested in shares or other forms of investment. If you are reluctant to commit to a long contract, you are better served with a purchase.


The purchase of a solar system makes sense if the investment sum can be covered since the purchased system has a shorter amortization period. But even with the choice of a rental offer, you can save money from the first day and, at the same time, contribute to the energy transition. No matter which variant you ultimately decide on – rent or buy off grid solar power systems – you become independent of energy suppliers and mineral oil companies and perform an important contribution to the energy revolution. At the same time, you save a lot of money by generating your electricity and generate additional income from feeding in your excess electricity. Thanks to the rental option, you don’t even need capital for an initial investment. With the hire-purchase option, you can easily take over the solar system at the end of the tenancy and continue saving money.

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