Solar is Sexy, Financing Is Not Sexy

Unless you are in the business of helping people put a solar array on their homes, you might not think much about some of the other things that have to line up for these projects to make sense.  The technology itself is fairly straightforward, but some other significant factors that support these projects are:

  • Utility policy and the state laws that allow or prevent obstruction of solar installation
  • Natl. Electric Code that supports solar photovoltaic (PV) equipment and provides guidance for safe installations
  • Federal tax policy recognizing the value of clean energy
  • State laws preventing HOA’s from interfering with the installation of solar
  • Sensible loan packages in the case someone needs outside financing

Here in Washington State, we are blessed with a confluence of these factors that all come together making the installation of solar PV relatively attractive for our clients.  At this moment I would especially like to give appreciation to two local credit unions for putting together some very low interest energy efficiency financing programs, and the WA State Dept of Commerce, which has implemented a program enabling these loans in partnership with the credit unions.

Until a few years ago, we did not have any attractive credit options to recommend for our clients.  The only option our state’s solar industry had was consumer credit along the lines of how you might finance an appliance, perhaps from GE Capital, and those loans were not anything we would ever recommend to our clients.  Within the last couple of years however, we now have some excellent low interest rate, long term financing designed specifically for these projects and some of the other incentives they receive.

Both Puget Sound Cooperative Credit Union and Generations Credit Union have received high reviews from our clients that have used these loans.  The rates are low and the terms are variable to work with your needs.  The key is that each of these loans is supported through a loan guarantee from WA Dept of Commerce, and each is structured to work specifically with other available incentives in order to maximize the economic benefits of the solar electricity being made on your roof.

At this point, nearly 1/3 of our customers are using financing from one of these two credit unions.  Puget Sound Cooperative Credit Union has let us know they are writing solar loans for solar at the pace of of $2 Million per month.  That is a lot of solar here in Washington State, and that is a big turn on.

So for some of us solar geeks, financing actually can be sexy.  Links to each credit union’s program is below.