They will install the solar panels, maintain them, upgrade them, fix them, etc.
You pay a $500 deposit.
When you sign up, your solar rate is set up at your current electrical rate. So if you pay $0.074 per kilowatt hour now (my current rate) you will be locked in to that rate with your solar as long as your contract works. So at first you will be spending no extra money, but as the local power plant increases it's rates your solar costs will stay the same. In the end you will save thousands of dollars and drastically reduce emissions.
Wow, what a great idea! I'd love to have a solar system in fact I think I'll sign up. Well, fooey -- Missouri is one of the 9 states that doesn't meter and so it's not offered. My power choices are really ticking me off (and I don't have $15,000 to invest in a solar system of my own). Otherwise, I like what the program seems to offer. Maybe down the road...
I know exactly how to get a solar system to pay itself off in under a year, but it isn't in the least legal, and I'm not about to mention it on a public forum as that would remove from it the advantage of being low risk that solar power would give to such an endeavour.