10 Solar Lending Programs in 10 Locations

It’s a question we’ve heard a lot lately: “Who will lend me money to finance solar installations?” In fact, a couple of our readers, Reeves and Byron, were kind enough to send comments on the subject: “We’ve heard there are some articles out there showing that if you get the right kind of financing, your solar installation can be cash flow positive right away. Problem is, I can’t find those articles.“Great blog and great post! I’d love to see a post with more specific information regarding loan options. For instance, with information regarding particular institutions that provide such loans.” Solar LendingFor financing sources, many articles cite “lending institutions,” “utilities,” and “local and state” programs, but which are they? The following are 10 examples of city, state, and utility based solar lending programs located across the U.S. Since we only covered 10, the list is by no means comprehensive. It will give you an idea, though, of the many resources available when you take the time to look. I found several of these through the DSIRE and through city and utility company literature. Check with these sources to see what’s available in your area. If you feel up to it, send us a comment to let other homeowners know what you find! Also, keep in mind that these loans can often be combined with other incentives, such as tax rebates, to further lower your up-front investment. City of Berkeley, California The City of Berkeley made headlines in November 2007 with the Financing Initiative for Renewables and Solar Technology. The pilot phase is set for launch in June of 2008, when homeowners can have their solar systems installed and financed by the City via a 20-year, taxable bond assessed on their property tax bills. Clallum County PUD This Washington-based utility offers a Residential Solar & Efficiency Loan Program for residential solar water heat and photovoltaics. Minimum loan amounts are $1,000, and maximum amounts are $15,000. CORE in Colorado CORE, or the Community Office for Resource Efficiency works in conjunction with the City of Aspen and the Community Bank of Colorado to provide 5-year, 0% interest residential loans for solar water heating and PV systems. Keystone Home Energy Loan Program The Keystone Home Energy Loan Program (HELP) is funded by the Pennsylvania Treasury Department and administered by AFC First, providing low-interest loans for residential and low-income residential customers installing solar water heat, photovoltaics, and other eligible energy efficient technologies. New York State New York offers solar loans through the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA). The loans cover $2,500 to $20,000 in costs, or up to 100% of the solar thermal or PV installation. Loans are fixed for 3, 5, 7, or 10 year terms. State of Oregon The State of Oregon offers an Energy Loan Program for amounts starting at $20,000. These go to residential passive solar space heat, solar water heat, solar space heat, and photovoltaic systems. Terms vary, but typically range from 5 to 15 years. Orlando Utilities Commission Orlando Utilities Commission (OUC) has partnered with the Orlando Federal Credit Union to provide 0 to 5.5% interest loans for residential solar thermal and PV systems. The loans can be repaid over time as fixed payments on customers’ utility bills. Sacramento, California Municipal Utility District (SMUD) SMUD offers a Residential Solar Loan Program, providing up to 100 percent loan financing to customers installing solar water heating or photovoltaic (PV) systems. However, the units must be installed by SMUD-approved water heating or PV contractors. Santa Monica, California Through Solar Santa Monica, Santa Monica residents can have their solar installations financed with no more than a $1,000 down payment. First, a Solar Santa Monica assessor will visit the homeowner’s residence to determine the most cost-effective installation plan. Once the homeowner decides on which energy improvements to choose, Solar Santa Monica puts them in touch with a program-approved lender. Vermont Clean Energy Development Fund Vermont Clean Energy Development Fund (CEDF) is a state-based loan program that provides working capital for eligible residential solar technologies. Loan terms have a 4% interest rate and vary depending on project type. Hopefully, this puts you on the route to sound solar financing. Look out for future articles dedicated to solar financing by mortgage and lending institutions and to power purchase agreements (PPAs). PPAs finance the purchase, installation, and maintenance of a solar system for you, giving you all the benefits solar energy allows, though you won’t own the system outright. Links: Take Advantage of Free Solar Installation Estimates

Posted on April 3 in Solar Information by .

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