Homeowners interested in installing solar panels have multiple options when financing their solar energy systems.
Equity Loans - Many customers go through commercial lenders to finance solar energy systems, and home equity loans are the most common financing method for homeowners to purchase their solar systems. To find out more about home equity loans, you can contact your local providers, though many solar contractors have partnerships with existing lenders.
Power Purchase Agreements - Under a "PPA," a third party owns and maintains the customer solar system, selling the kilowatt-hours back to the customer. Customers who opt for a solar PPA typically have low capital costs and pay only for the electricity their solar systems generate.
Solar Leases - By leasing a solar system, customers can get the benefits of owning a solar system without the capital costs. Solar customers opting for solar leases simply rent the solar system from a company as they would any other home appliance while earning the benefits from the electricity the system produces. Solar leases are an attractive option for home or business owners that plan to lease their panels for less than five years
This information was taken from the Go Solar California website.
Initially developed by the County of Santa Barbara, emPower is now partnering with the Counties of San Luis Obispo and Ventura to offer residential home upgrades for improved energy efficiency and comfort throughout the Tri-County region.
emPower is teamed up with the statewide Energy Upgrade California and California Solar Initiative programs, which allow homeowners to take advantage of high-dollar utility rebates. The program partners with CoastHills Credit Union and Ventura County Credit Union to offer unsecured loans with low rates and up to 15 years in order to achieve manageable monthly costs.
How emPower works:
Visit the Eligible Projects page to learn more about the available upgrade packages and decide if you wish to add solar photovoltaics to one of these packages.
After choosing an upgrade option, homeowners must apply for an incentive. To receive emPower benefits, homeowners choose from a qualified, licensed contractor from emPower’s list. You will work with your contractor to determine the energy efficiency upgrades you would like installed and develop a scope of work. Your contractor will handle the paperwork and submittal of the application for the appropriate rebate or incentive program.
Interested in the services emPower can offer? Visit their website.
What is property Assessed clean energy financing?
Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing allows property owners to fund energy efficiency, water efficiency and renewable energy projects with little or no up-front costs. With PACE, residential and commercial property owners living within a participating district can finance up to 100% of their project and pay it back over time as a voluntary property tax assessment through their existing property tax bill.
Cities on the Central Coast with PACE Programs:
City of San Luis Obispo
As of March 2015, the only PACE program in the above cities is CaliforniaFIRST.
Why use PACE financing?
PACE can eliminate the need to pay out of pocket for your project by offering up to 100% financing on qualifying improvements. Depending on the type of improvements installed, repayment may be amortized for a period of up to 20 years, keeping monthly payments low enough that utility savings may exceed payment, creating a net positive cash flow. In addition, the interest may be tax deductible. PACE funds are tied to the property and not an individual. Please note, the loan may transfer upon sale or refinancing of the property.
Who can take advantage of PACE?
PACE financing is only available to property owners in certain cities that have adopted a program. PACE programs offer competitive financing terms to property owners with at least some equity in their home or business and no delinquencies with their property tax or mortgage payments. For further details concerning property eligibility (residential, commercial and municipal) and financing terms, contact CaliforniaFirst at (888) 906-0838.
Check out the Center for Sustainable Energy for more information on different PACE programs and financing.
Below is a helpful comparison spreadsheet for PACE and emPower. For a higher resolution or printable version, click here.