Can I get financing for solar?
Installing a solar energy system on your property requires a significant investment. The upfront expenses can be steep, especially if you’re looking to benefit from solar’s savings. If the upfront cost is too steep for your liking, financing options are available for solar energy installations.
How do I decide the right financing option for me?
Before going into the different financing options available, you will need to understand what makes one option better than the other. There are plenty of offers to choose from, and taking the time to pick the right one can save you thousands of dollars down the line.
These are the ideal points to look for when searching for loan options:
- Low interest rate. This point is pretty straightforward, the less you pay on the loan, the more money you save.
- Suitable repayment terms. Repayment terms are important to consider when taking a loan choice. Shorter loans will have higher payments per month, while longer loans end up with more interest being paid. The ideal term will let you pay off the entire loan comfortably and quickly.
- Perks. Perks can come in many forms, depending on the financial institution. These perks can include a discounted rate for autopay and unemployment protection.
With these points in mind, it’s time to look at the finance options you can choose for your solar energy installation.
Personal loans are a flexible option for financing your solar energy installation. They can differ greatly depending on the financial institution you are borrowing from and often offer low-interest rates for high credit score borrowers. Whether you opt to go for an unsecured or secured loan, you need a minimum credit score of at least 580 to get approved. The higher your credit score, the better the rates and terms. So if you are looking to take this option to finance your solar energy installation, you might want to improve your credit score.
The Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has a program called PowerSaver which provides loans for energy-saving home upgrades. Solar energy systems are also included in this program. The program offers multiple ways to finance your installation, the PowerSaver Second Mortgage and Energy Rehab 203(k) loan options can cover the cost of your installation.
- The PowerSaver Second Mortgage allows you to take out a second mortgage of up to $25,000. Although to qualify, you cannot have an existing home equity loan, second lien, or second mortgage. You can have up to 20 years to repay the loan.
- The Energy rehab 203(k) loan option works when you would like to include the cost of your solar energy installation in the purchase or refinancing of your home. You will have the entire length of your mortgage to repay the loan.
These loans would require you to have a minimum credit score of 660 and a debt-to-income ratio of 45% to qualify. The benefit of these programs is that they are similar to personal loan interest rates, but have a much longer repayment term. Although the caveat of this program is that you have to stay within the spending limits that the FHA sets. FHA rules must be followed throughout the entire process, these rules can slow down the installation process.
Home equity loan
There is also the option of taking a home equity loan, which allows you to borrow money from the equity in your home. Banks will lend up to 85% of the equity of your home for a solar energy installation. While this option comes with a decent interest rate, your home will serve as collateral and the bank can repossess it if you fail to make your payments.
This option isn’t technically purchasing a solar energy system for your home. It’s a way of renting panels to be used on your property. This will allow you to make the most of the energy savings with a minimal upfront cost. However, there are downsides. You won’t own the solar energy system and can’t take advantage of the incentives and savings.
Once you have chosen a method of financing your solar energy installation, you can take advantage of the federal solar tax credit. You may also be eligible for state and local tax incentives, although this depends on where you reside. The federal solar tax credit allows you to deduct 26% of the cost of your solar energy system from your federal taxes. This incentive will step down to 22% in 2023 and expire for all residential installations in 2024. State and local tax incentives can differ between areas, so it would be worth seeing the incentives offered in your area.
Getting started on your solar energy installation
If you have decided on your financing option, we can help you get started with the solar energy installation. Our website also has a free online estimate tool that generates a personalized report for you from a simplified questionnaire. That report will contain the potential savings you can net, and the cost of a solar energy system installed on your property.
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