5 Financing Options That Make Residential Solar More Affordable



Going solar for your home is an attractive green investment but comes with an upfront cost that deters many homeowners. However, there are effective financing mechanisms that can make residential solar panel installation more within reach to enjoy long-term energy savings. This guide explores 5 options to fund your Residential Solar Panels Installation system in a manner suitable to your budget and needs.

Cash Purchase vs taking a Loan

Making an outright cash purchase of your solar system upfront maximizes incentives but requires a chunk of capital that not everyone has on hand. Taking a loan allows spreading costs over several years at a fixed interest rate. Many solar installers partner with local banks or credit unions to offer loans at competitive rates tailored for solar.

For example, special ‘green loans’ may have lower interest and longer repayment periods of 10-15 years, making monthly obligations affordable. Federal loan programs through the Department of Energy also support residential solar financing. Do factor in total interest paid when considering loan options.

Third-party Ownership Models

Popular third-party solar ownership or leasing models remove upfront costs altogether while still allowing you to utilize green energy onsite. The installer or a separate entity retains ownership of your solar panels and equipment after installation. You purchase the solar energy produced at predetermined rates via a power purchase agreement (PPA).

Over the contract term which averages 20 years, energy costs are guaranteed to remain less than your existing utility bills, ensuring immediate savings. No large down payment is required either. In the end, you have the option to purchase the system or renew the agreement.

Community Solar Subscription

An alternative for those with shading or constraints from their roofing construction supply is tapping into utility-scale or community solar farms. These central facilities generate renewable energy that multiple subscribers draw power from virtually through net metering credits. Upfront costs to subscribe are typically minimal or free in incentivized markets.

Paying a small premium over retail rates, subscriptions can range from 1-panel block to match your entire home’s needs.

Combine Incentives with Financing

Maximize ROI by leveraging available rebates, tax credits, and other incentives with financing smartly. For example, the Federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) provides a 26% tax refund on solar system costs for residential installations in 2022. Working with an experienced installer helps you stack incentives gained this year with financing for the balance outlay.

You may land attractive low or zero upfront options while still benefiting from the full tax credit. Similarly, state and utility rebates can offset loan principal if claimed upfront during application. Collaborate with your solar professionals to optimize incentives and financing synergies unique to your location and circumstances.

Ownership Transition over Time

A novel model gaining acceptance allows homeowners to pay for solar panels installation through gradual ownership, without bearing risks of upfront capital outlay. At the onset, the installer retains majority ownership and covers maintenance for 5-10 years. System production outputs are shared between parties.

Every year, ownership percentage shifts in favor of homeowners through scheduled buyouts at predetermined declining prices. At the end of the term, you own the panels fully at nominal cost having reaped energy returns all along.

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