Happened again. I ran into a green person, who told me he loved solar but that it wasn’t affordable. What he’s really saying is that the up front costs are too high, which is why I’m discussing the growing number of leasing and PPA companies out in the U.S.
However, I also want to remind green and all hues of people about all of the available Zero to low upfront cost solar financing vehicles. Not all are right for everyone, but one of them is probably right for you. Then, I want you to get a quote, be pleasantly surprised (told ya) and spread the word to all misinformed greenies. So that you can’t miss the low up front factor, I’m going to put those parts in green bold:
- Low down Home Equity Financing. If you have enough home equity in your home today and in the 28% tax bracket, your up front costs will be the minimal second mortgage fees, perhaps $1000. Sweet. You’ll most likely benefit from the 30% Federal tax credit and writing off the loan’s interest. (Check with your tax adviser, naturally.) And after 8 – 13 years, the panels will have paid for themselves including the aforementioned mortgage fees. Panels last at least 25 years, remember, so that’s also a great selling point to also boost your home value. Naturally, you need to be in a solar friendly state for the best incentives. Check your state here.
- CityFirst type Municipal Financing. The idea is simple. Your city funds solar through bonds. You typically buy your solar through a city approved solar dealer, and benefit from all of the rebates and tax incentives of your city and State. Your home gets a special tax assessment for the rest of the installed solar costs, paid over 20 years, typically at 7% or 8% interest. No money down, no home equity assessments, no dealing with banks. What’s not to like? You’ve got to live in one of these cities. But the list is growing. Call your mayor.
- Solar Leases and Solar PPAs, as mentioned above. Solar Fred is now in the process of going through the details of the programs that I’m aware of. There aren’t that many for the residential market, and they’re only in a few states, but that will change in the coming year. The highlights: 0 or not much down, monthly fees or power rates that are as good or less than what you’re paying now. Some are flat rate for 20 years. Others, you pay a little more every year. If you’ve got one of these puppies in your area today, call ’em up. See what the numbers are for you, your roof, your energy usage.
- Unsecured Solar Financing. How about unsecured solar loan from clean power finance at 7% or so. It’s available through partner installers, and according to the website, no fees, points, so again, 0 or no cash down. Hello?
- Solar Panel Company Financing. There’s a new trend in town that Solar Fred needs to check out. Big solar panel manufacturers such as SunPower are doing their own 0 down financing. Naturally, you have to use their panels and buy through one of their installers. But the panels themselves have a great reputation, so it’s not like you’re slumming. Again, details are sketchy for now, but I’ll let you know after I get the skinny.
- Energy Efficiency Mortgages. They’re limited, offered by the Feds, low interest. You might have to make some other efficiency investments first before going solar, but that’s not a bad thing for you, your wallet, or the environment, honest. And yes, it’s still 0 down.
And so dear green readers, let it not be said that residential solar is too expensive or that there are high up front costs. One way or another, you can afford solar. You just have to reach for the phone or click on your mouse and start the process for getting a quote in your area. It’s free. That is, no money down for the quote. Tell your friends, spouse, and dog, or have them read this post. (I’m assuming your dog is an environmentalist.)
Last modified: May 7, 2020