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The 2018 Updated Guide to Solar Loans

Jason RothmanJune 5, 20183912488

More banks and credit unions include solar in home equity loans

Until recently most homeowners who wanted to go solar needed to pay for the system upfront, or participate in a solar lease program, where a third party owns the solar panels and you lease them. 

Now, solar shoppers who don’t have thousands of dollars lying around can still get the solar system they want with the increasing popularity of the solar loan.

In the last few years, the number of banks, credit unions, and even utilities that offer solar loans has grown tremendously.

It used to be hard to get a loan to cover solar panels but now many different types of institutions offer them. Traditional banks and credit unions jumped into the market, and now even utilities are offering low-interest loans for solar panels. Some utilities are offering no interest loans. 
 

Solar loans are similar to other home equity loans

Solar loans have the same basic structure terms and conditions as other home improvement loans. Credit scores, collateral, and proving the ability to pay back the loan are still paramount to securing the money, but most banks know that installing solar on homes will increase the value right away, so they are more willing to loan out the money for these projects.

Solar panel loans are similar to home improvement loans that homeowners have used for decades to build a deck or add a second bathroom. When a homeowner borrows money from a lender, they agree to pay it back, plus interest, in monthly installments over the loan term. Some banks have different lengths and interest rates available to homeowners, so it is a good idea to shop around for the right deal for your situation.
 

What is a home equity loan 

Every bank and credit union has a version of the home equity loan. It is a great way to use the home itself as collateral to procure a loan to install solar. Installing solar increases the value of the home, and every bank knows this. If you have good to great credit, and you don’t have a lot of credit card debt, most banks will give very favorable rates and terms for these loans and explore what your bank can do for you is a great option.

There are also many solar power finance companies. All they do is work with homeowners to get solar loans for their homes. Companies like GreenSky Finance or Ygreen are more than willing to look at your situation and see if a solar loan is right for you. The great thing about the solar loan is many times the payments are less than what you would have paid for power from the utility anyway. 
 

Banks offering solar loan and mortgage in one

Most banks and credit unions separate their home improvement loans and their mortgages, but one company has decided to combine the two. Guild Mortgage is a mortgage company out of San Diego, that now offers a home loan and solar loan combination, a first in the country. This loan allows potential solar candidates to buy a solar system when they purchase a home.

Homeowners in existing homes who want to add solar can use this Guild mortgage to refinance their loan so they can get solar. The great thing about this loan is it offers an immediate return by saving you money on your electricity bills right away, even as you repay the loans.
 

Some utilities get into the finance game 

As the world goes solar, utilities are jumping into the game because they know that they have no other alternative. Here in California Pacific Gas and Electric, one of the major utilities in the state offers a zero percent loan on solar panel installations on the home, and many others are following suit. Check with your local utility and see how they can help you go solar.
 

One very important difference with solar loans

There is one very important difference between solar panel loans and other home improvement loans, is the solar panel loan allows you to own an appreciating asset that also generates its own financial value. That means those solar panels decrease your utility bill to $0 or close to it while increasing the value of the home.

This is even before you factor in the 30 percent federal investment tax credit and other applicable rebates and incentives like solar renewable energy certificates (SRECs). While a new kitchen or deck is a nice addition to your home, they do not offer the same type of financial benefits.

Like any other financial product, solar panel loans have different structures, terms, and conditions. In order to find the solar energy loan that is right for you, it is important to shop around and ask the lenders plenty of questions.
To learn more about how you can go solar visit HahaSmart and try out our Price Checker Tool yourself. You can not only see how much a solar panel system would cost and how much you can save.

For information relating to going solar don’t forget to visit our solar blog section for more handy guides and articles.
 

Solar system price checker

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