Florida Regulators Green-Light Vivint Solar Equipment Leases


The Florida Public Service Commission (PSC) recently issued a declaratory statement that affirms Vivint Solar Developer LLC can offer residential solar equipment leases in Florida.

Commissioners agreed that Vivint’s 20-year, fixed-payment solar equipment lease is not a retail sale of electricity.

The PSC says its rules have long allowed leasing of renewable energy equipment, but the lease terms cannot be structured to, in effect, sell electricity to the customer. Homeowners can purchase or lease equipment to generate electricity for personal use and also benefit from interconnection and net metering with their local utility.

“As solar becomes more affordable and, therefore, more attractive to residential customers, the PSC supports ways to continue to ‘prime the pump’ for renewable energy adoption,” says Art Graham, chairman of the PSC. “This declaratory statement helps provide more residential solar options for Florida’s ratepayers.”

In its declaratory statement, the PSC found as follows:

• Vivint’s residential solar equipment lease, as described in its petition, does not constitute a sale of electricity;

• Offering its solar equipment lease to Florida consumers will not cause Vivint to be a public utility under Florida law; and

• The residential solar equipment lease will not subject Vivint or its customer lessees to PSC regulation.

Vivint provides residential solar, storage and energy services to over 125,000 customers in 21 states and the District of Columbia.

In April, the commission issued a similar declaratory statement for Sunrun Inc. A PSC declaratory statement is not required by rule or statute for a company to lease solar equipment to Florida residents if the lease is not a retail sale of electricity, the commission notes.

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