Zero-cost for homeowners and everyone else who owns a suitable surface, that is. We all know the mobile phone contracts where you get a phone for free (or one symbolic buck) and pay it off through the monthly tariff. According to this article, a similar business model is apparently now spreading in the Californian and Australian solar sectors. Solar installers are offering homeowners leasing arrangements to install rooftop installations at zero upfront costs, paid for through the leasing rate. But the scheme is even better than mobile phone tariffs because the leasing rate is lower than what people would have to pay for electricity from the grid. So there is a double bang for zero bucks: a shiny solar installation on your roof at zero costs and instant savings on the electricity bills.
And here is another article by the same author that has some nice graphics showing why incumbent utilities hate solar photovoltaics. Because it drastically depresses day-prices on the power exchanges. Daytime is where demand peaks and hence used to be where prices where highest and the biggest profits were made. “Solar PV is not just licking the cream off the profits of the fossil fuel generators (…) it is in fact eating their entire cake.”