This is a quick shout out to a solar panel company (not an installer) called SunPower, who is taking the initiative in making solar affordable for more home owners.
- First, let me assure everyone that I have no secret relationship to SunPower or any company at this point. If I ever do, I’ll let you know. All the info below is from their website, press releases, and some solar buzz that I hear. I’ll probably bug them later about more details about these programs.
- As I mentioned, SunPower is primarily a solar panel company that has a good reputation in the industry. Some say they’re a little more expensive than other panels, but often that’s because their panels give you more power per panel. What does that mean?
- Basically it means that if you have a limited amount of roof space, you’ll need fewer SunPower panels than a less powerful panel by other companies–who I’m sure are working on catching up. Anyway, that’s generally what I hear about why SunPower can be a little more expensive.
About their Solar loan programs:
- SunPower Loan program #1
- The “SunPower Equity Loan” a 25 year home equity based loan. No big surprise there.
- They may or may not have better rates or easier terms than your bank.
- However, per their website, SunPower does allow for a medium credit score of 600. So they may be a little more flexible with approval, but usually that means a higher interest rate.
- SunPower Loan Program #2: The other loan program is an unsecured loan with a short 5 year term.
- Although the monthly payments for this program are low (essentially it’s a solar credit card with a fixed payment) there is a balloon payment at the end of those 5 years. So be prepared to take out another loan or have the cash to pay whatever’s left.
- The press release says that the interest rate is “currently” 5.25% for “qualified buyers.” Interest rates fluctuate often with every lender and sometimes every day due to market conditions, so this rate could already be obsolete.
- Qualified buyers have to have a 680 credit score.
- Also keep in mind that you can’t deduct the interest off your taxes like you can with a home equity based loan.
- Of course, you can finance a home equity loan through a lot of banks, so do your homework, but I like that the company is trying to make it easier to go solar.
Here’s the other reason why I’m giving a positive shout out to SunPower:
- They’re making my job a little easier by investing in a radio advertising campaign here in Los Angeles, and probably elsewhere.
- They also have a well designed, easy to read and understand website. (Again, this makes my job easier. Probably helps you too.)
- Not so sure about their website’s cost estimator, but I generally don’t recommend anyone use those things, even the really good ones, because a solar quote really needs to be customized. Enter the wrong parameter or make the “standard” assumptions, and you could get an unpleasant surprise when you get your real quote from someone who’s actually looked at your home, your electric bills, and the condition of your roof. So get a real quote by a qualified installer is my suggestion. It’s always free, so what can it hurt?
In any case, as a solar blogger trying to get the word out about solar affordability, the more voices I have behind me talking about solar, the faster people will begin to realize that solar is indeed affordable–if you live in a net metered state with state and local subsidies.
So, nice going SunPower for reaching directly to the street for a consumer audience (instead of just the installer audience) and designing different loan programs to make solar more accessible.
Last modified: December 28, 2018