Your Financing Options

The financial, environmental, and community benefits of clean energy systems are clear. Still, they represent a significant upfront investment, so it’s good to understand all of your financing options. There’s no need to be discouraged if you decide that you cannot afford the upfront investment--rather than buying a clean energy system, you may be able to lease one at no upfront cost to you and still save a significant amount on your energy bills. We’ll cover the financing options that are available if you wish to own your system first, and then we’ll discuss leasing. There are still other ways to benefit from clean energy systems without owning or leasing them, and we’ll discuss those as well.

Remember that rebates and incentives can help ease the burden of upfront costs if you want to own your own clean energy system. But if you choose not to own your system you may still buy power at below-market rates from a leasing company, and those same rebates and incentives will be used to reduce the price you pay for energy. Regardless of whether you own your own system or lease one, you will benefit by saving money on your energy bills!



LOANS

Home Equity Loans:

Residential and commercial property owners can apply for equity loans to cover the cost of their clean energy system, using their property as collateral.

Subsidized Loans:

These are loans that offer below market interest rates to the borrower to buy and install a specific clean energy system. Some loans even carry a 0% interest rate.

Peer-to-Peer loans:

These loans are made available by through crowd-sourcing web sites that match people interested in buying a clean energy system with people who, because of their commitment to clean energy and or the environment, are interested in financing them.

Property Accessed Clean Energy Loans (PACE):

These loans are financed by certain municipalities--cities, towns, and counties. The amount required to repay the PACE loan is added to your real estate tax bills and paid over time with each tax payment.

Other Specialized Loans:

There are many other loan programs available through utility companies and non-profit organizations. They are specifically designed to encourage purchase of a clean energy system and may be suitable for some property owners


LEASING

Leasing is renting: a way to receive the benefits of using the system, while the risks, benefits and responsibilities of owning the system remain with the leasing company.

Need help deciding between borrowing (owning) and leasing? See a quick comparison of the two options. Convinced leasing is best for you? See our table comparing available lease options for Solar PV.


COMMUNITY FINANCING

If you are interested in promoting clean energy, but are not ready to buy or lease a system yourself, you can pool your resources together with other individual contributions to fund a local clean energy installation. This is how it works: a property owner agrees to have the clean energy system installed on their property, and all of the individuals in the pool contribute what they can towards the purchase price. All of the members in the pool then receive income from the clean energy that the system produces. The amount of income they receive from the system depends on how much they contribute towards its purchase price. Individuals who contribute to the pool don’t directly consume the energy that the system produces, but they do support the production of energy from clean and renewable sources, and they receive a financial benefit as well.

Examples: www.tangerinepower.com or collectivesun.com


COMMUNITY CHANGE ORGANIZATIONS

Unable to purchase your own clean energy system, lease one, or invest in one? You can still do your part to support clean energy! Community change organizations bring people together to finance clean energy indirectly by encouraging them to purchase products and services from companies that, in turn, invest in clean energy once a specified amount of purchases have been made. Community change organizations allow you to direct the amounts you ordinarily spend on the goods and services you need to companies that share your goals and values.

Examples: www.sochange.com

Use EnergySage’s Financing Options tool to see what works best for you!