SolarCity makes leasing program available to customers of L.A. Department of Water and Power

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SolarCity’s SolarLease program has been made available to customers of the largest municipal utility in the U.S., the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP). The solar leasing option is a 20-year lease with fixed monthly payments for the life of the lease, so savings increase over time if electricity rates rise.

A SolarCity solar lease of a 4KW PV system, appropriate for a typical three-bedroom home in Los Angeles, would start at $55 per month, with no money down, on approved credit, the company said. The consumer can also benefit from LADWP’s own solar rebates, which are said to be among the most generous offered by U.S. utility companies.

The first month’s payment for a SolarLease is due when the system is turned on. The lease option includes financing, design, installation, a performance guarantee, the company’s Web-based SolarGuard monitoring service, and repair service.

Solar City CEO Lyndon Rive said that “more than 1000 LADWP customers have already inquired about our solar lease option, and we’re hiring 25 new installers in the Los Angeles area to help meet the demand.”

One of the first group of LADWP customers to sign up for SolarLease is Erik Solter, a homeowner in Canoga Park in the San Fernando Valley. “I’ve always wanted to be greener but I’ve been waiting for an option that makes financial sense,” he said. “With SolarCity’s SolarLease, I can adopt solar power for less than I used to pay for electricity and help LADWP conserve energy.”

Since the introduction of SolarLease in mid-2008, SolarCity has seen its residential PV reservations in California soar to nearly triple that of its nearest competitors, according to information from the California Solar Initiative program database presented by the integrator earlier this year at the Greentech Media solar summit event.

The company also said that it has seen a sharp uptick in customer requests for First Solar panels, such as those shown in the photo above.

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