Solar Financing: Loans
Solar loans have become the most popular way to go solar in the United States and are helping to catalyze rapid solar power adoption. The reason for this growth is straightforward: homeowners finance solar systems for $0 down and start saving from day one, while also building equity in the system and owning it outright at the end of the loan term. Approximately 70% of SunPower by EmPower Solar’s customers finance solar with some form of loan, and 30% use the lease ( learn more about the lease here ). Following are some details about how the solar loan works and some of the benefits.
Solar Loan Product
SunPower by EmPower Solar offers its own dedicated solar loan through a financing partner. This solar financing product is comprised of two loan components; a bridge and a term. The bridge loan covers the amount of the solar tax credit, and is paid back within 12 – 18 months once the tax credits are received. The term loan covers the net project cost after the tax credits, with 10, 12 and 15 year term options.
The net result is that the term loan monthly payments are usually lower than the pre-solar utility bill, generating immediate savings. This means that customers start paying to own their solar power system by paying less than the utility bill from day one. So homeowners begin building equity in this clean power generating asset with zero down, and save right away. Because the solar payment is fixed, as electric rates rise, the monthly savings will increase. Then, at the end of the loan term, solar generates free electricity.
Home Equity For Solar Installation
Using a home equity line of credit or loan to finance solar can make a lot of financial sense. First, home equity interest rates are low and most likely the best available rate to fund any home improvement project. Second, the home equity would be one loan for the total project cost. Once the solar tax credits are received, the line is paid down. Then, the homeowner can pay down the home equity line as they choose. Following the principle of monthly savings, customers often decide to make monthly payments at an amount lower than the pre-solar utility bill, resulting in immediate monthly savings. Another benefit of home equity is that interest on the loan payments is tax deductible.
According to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Home Price Index
, home values have shown a 38 percent rise in the national index since its low point in February 2012. This means that homeowners are realizing increasing wealth and building equity.
Solar Loan Example:
Before solar, a homeowner uses 12,000 kWh per year and pays $2,400 annually: an average of $200 per month. The homeowner installs a 10 kilowatt SunPower solar system that off-sets 12,000 kWh per year of usage and the utility bill decreases from $200 to $10 per month (considering standard connection charges). The monthly solar loan payment is $170, resulting in $30 per month savings. Because the solar payment is fixed, as electricity prices rise, solar savings increase. After 15 years, the homeowner pays off the loan and owns the solar system with 10 years still left on the system warranty!
To think of this another way:
Year 1 utility price: $0.20 per kilowatt hour (kWh), on average, increases 3% per year
Year 15 utility price: $0.35 per kWh
Year 1 - 15 year solar loan cost per kWh: $0.17, fixed rate
Year 16 - solar system cost: $0.00 / kWh
Twenty year savings: $30,000 - $70,000 (depending on system size)
Home Value Increase
A key benefit of the solar loan is that the solar system adds to home value.
Studies from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and The National Bureau of Economic Research have shown that homes with solar energy systems can command a 3 - 4% premium over homes without solar energy systems. Using either home equity or the solar loan enables homeowners to realize the benefits from increasing home value.
When The Solar Loan Makes Sense
We find that the solar loan makes sense for homeowners that have the ability to use the solar incentives including the federal solar tax credit and New York State solar tax credit. It allows people to go solar with no money down, save money from day one and ultimately own their system outright. Given the rapid growth of solar loans, it is clear that they are proving to be a very smart and economical way to go solar.
To learn more, schedule your free solar assessment with one of our Solar Experts. Email: email@example.com and get started today!
SunPower by EmPower Solar is Long Island's exclusive SunPower Master Dealer, committed to delivering more savings now and more over time with the world's most powerful solar panels and the industry's best combined power and product warranty.
After hearing news about your solar installer closing down, you're probably thinking, "What happens to my system now?" Thousands of Long Island and New York City residents are in
the same boat after Level Solar closed in September and several others have closed earlier this year. Many of these homeowners are protected by a 20-year agreement
and, or, a manufacturer’s warranty that will long outlive the installer that
happened to put their system up.
Why is this happening?
Solar is evolving from early adopter to mass deployment, attracting many new businesses, some looking to make a quick buck. Some businesses used aggressive sales tactics such as door knocking and cold calling to generate fast business growth, and many of these operations have come and gone.
Many well established Long Island solar companies, like EmPower Solar, have been around since the early 2000’s. After the big New York solar boom of 2013, many national companies opened offices here and others popped up seemingly overnight. Unfortunately, they didn’t all exactly embrace the same “amazing customer experience” culture that we did and instead focused on rapid growth. As a result, many of them received low customer satisfaction ratings, and frankly, didn’t make it. There are companies, like us, who focused on consistent, sustainable, and scaled growth, and these are the ones that will continue to have a place in the local market for the long haul.
What do I do if my company is no longer around?
Step 1. Don’t panic. If your auto mechanic closed shop, you’d find another one, right?
The bottom line is: Solar on Long Island is a strong, robust, dependable, and long-lasting industry . When done correctly, companies will continue to find success in the marketplace. You can find industry projections and insights here:
As for us, EmPower Solar continues to receive unprecedented customer satisfaction ratings from our clients and has had several record years in a row by EmPowering more homeowners than ever.
Going solar is always the right decision and Long Islanders should feel safe and secure in making the decision to go solar. Like any other big home improvement, it is important to do your consumer research, and know what questions to ask. We’ve put together a checklist of important topics to cover when doing your solar research.
The most important things to look for: (THE THREE Ps – People, product, pricing + production. Or, who, what, and how much?)
Below is a deeper look into the ongoing ITC Section 201 Solar Trade Case. Here are some major takeaways:
The impending outcome of the Section 201 Trade Case by Suniva and Solar World is a large threat to an otherwise upward growth trajectory in the solar industry, mainly caused by product affordability. A negative outcome could result in a threat to consumers, an estimated 88,000 American jobs, and the current momentum towards a cleaner economy. According to ClearView Energy Partners and Bloomberg New Energy Finance, the proposed tariff and price floors would double the price of solar panels in the United States. Estimates from ClearView Energy Partners place the potential price increases even higher, at 98% - 162%
Suniva is a U.S. based manufacturer of high-efficiency crystalline silicon photovoltaic solar cells and high-power solar modules. Their claim, in this case, is that due to being priced out of manufacturing by companies overseas they could no longer compete and went bankrupt.
Solar-World, their co-petitioner, is another U.S based manufacturer. The ownership of their technologies and assets are split between companies from Germany and Qatar. They haven’t had American ownership since the 80’s.
The petition was filed by Suniva on May 17, 2017. The first phase of the case involved the ITC’s determination of “injury,” was deemed applicable by the ITC this morning. Now we have reached the “remedy” phase, during which the ITC must deliver a transmittal report to the president by November 13, 2017, containing any relief recommendations. The president then has until January 12, 2018, to decide whether to accept the ITC’s recommendation and impose that relief, impose alternative relief, or not impose any relief.
“Solar Section 201 Case - Frequently Asked Questions.” SEIA,
So what now?
There is still a lot yet to be determined, and a strong case to be made against aggressive tariffs. For clarity, we have included excerpts from a blog on the case written by SunPower’s CEO, Tom Werner. Which you can find in full, here.
“Should the ITC move ahead with recommending import tariffs, quotas, or other global import restrictions, the result will be right out of an Economics 101 textbook. Prices for American-manufactured solar equipment will rise, and a global marketplace will adjust to source from competitively-priced foreign sources. That could undermine an American industry that has been experiencing exponential growth and creating jobs at an unprecedented rate. And the potential knock-on effect on other industries we partner with – including steel, glass, and aluminum – is alarming.”
“...I’m optimistic that the Administration recognizes that, as one of the fastest-growing sectors in the U.S. economy, solar presents a unique opportunity for our economy and nation’s competitiveness. To be clear, two very small companies are driving the case, both of which are controlled by companies outside the U.S. They represent less than one-half of one percent of the nation’s solar energy workforce. Quite simply – when the Administration reviews all the facts, I think they will see that following the lead of a China-owned company puts American energy leadership into the hands of foreign competitors.
"The application of tariffs is not inevitable and is far from over. The ITC will now hold a “remedy hearing” during which alternative recommendations will be put forward, followed by a formal ITC recommendation to President Trump, who will make a final decision by early January.”
Werner summarizes his arguments against the case into these four bullet points:
Our ability to compete globally will be hindered. Solar energy use has grown significantly as technologies have improved and costs have decreased. The increased prices that result from tariffs will halt – and, in fact, reverse – this momentum, prompting the redirection of investment dollars to what will be more stable and rapidly growing markets in Europe, Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
Jobs will be permanently lost. There are now 260,000 jobs in the solar power industry, with annual employment growth running in double digits. If artificially-forced increased prices depress the market, many of those jobs will be at risk.
Other manufacturing sectors will take a big hit. There will be ripple effects, as well, for the steel, glass and aluminum sectors and other industries that are part of the solar industry’s supply chain.
America will cede leadership in energy innovation to China, India, and many other countries (for no good reason).Whomever wins the race to develop the next great innovative technologies in solar power will have an important advantage in the global energy marketplace. In the name of unnecessary protectionism, the United States would be ceding this leadership role to China, India, and Japan. It shouldn’t escape the Administration’s notice that one of the companies requesting the ITC action is majority Chinese-owned.
In conclusion, he reflects on historic effects of tariffs and SunPower’s outlook for the future.
"Finally, history must be our guide. In 2002, the U.S. government placed stiff tariffs on imported steel in an effort to protect the American steel industry. Instead the action did major damage. It caused the loss of up to 200,000 domestic jobs and the loss of $4 billion in wages over a nine-month period. Adding insult to injury, the tariffs were ultimately withdrawn after a negative hearing at the World Trade Organization. The U.S. should not make the same terrible mistake in determining the near-term future of the solar industry."
"Regardless of this decision, we are committed to working toward a constructive outcome and believe we must achieve one together. The ITC didn’t act in the best interests of an American success story, but now there is a real chance for both the Commission and the Administration to do so and maintain the nation’s leadership in solar energy technology development and solar energy deployment. We are ready to roll up our sleeves and will be engaged to help ensure this happens."
So, given all of this information, SunPower by EmPower Solar has decided to oppose the trade case. The outcome for the solar industry is uncertain as of today, but we will be monitoring the situation closely. Another thing we are in agreement with SunPower on, is our confidence in our ability to continue providing a premium product at an affordable price regardless of the economic sanctions put in place by the ITC. We remain driven, energized, and ready to adjust business effectively to support a clean, renewable, and cost-effective energy market in New York state.
Going solar doesn’t just mean switching energy sources, it means electrifying your life and unlocking a world of possibilities for your home. It starts with being efficient and includes heating and cooling systems, geothermal technology, electric vehicle charging, and even smart home technology. We encourage you to take steps to ELECTRIFY Your Life with the Sun and convert to a 100% renewable energy lifestyle.
Solar Assessment or Energy Audit - What comes first?
It’s the age-old question; should I go solar first or should I complete energy efficiency upgrades? For years, the two have been pitted against each other, even NYS financing programs forced homeowners to choose one or the other. The truth is; they are complimentary and can be done in tandem to ensure maximum home performance.
Most homeowners interested in going solar have a goal to eliminate 100% of their electric bill. With high-efficiency SunPower Panels, a 100% offset is often possible but sometimes there is more energy demand than there is roof space. It may not appear possible at first to be 100% solar powered, but after a bit of discovery, we find they can reduce their energy bills by making their homes tighter through weatherization, sealing, insulation as well as upgrading to a more efficient heating and cooling system.
Why the first step to “electrifying your life” should be energy efficiency
There is a lot that a Long Island home can do to improve their home’s performance and transition to a 100% renewable energy lifestyle. One of the most important steps is making sure you have an efficient foundation to start with. There’s not much sense in investing in the latest and greatest heating and cooling system if you’re losing most of that air through hollow walls. Also, how will you power your electric car if you have solar energy credits flying out of a drafty window?
Homes that should explore energy efficiency upgrades
All homes should take advantage of the NYS free energy audit, but certain applications are particularly in need:
An ideal home for solar
About 60% of homes on Long Island are viable for solar panels. Here are some key indicators about what makes a home eligible for solar panels;
SunPower by EmPower & Green Home Solutions Long Island
We’re proud to announce that Long Island’s top solar and energy efficiency companies have joined forces to help our customers benefit from these amazing and complementary technologies.
This blog was written by the SunPower by EmPower summer intern, Pamela Tuwaidan.
In the 2005 movie An Inconvenient Truth , former vice president Al Gore talks about climate change, global warming, and how people can take action to make the world a more environmentally safe place.
Throughout the years, the world has become a more hazardous complicated place because of all the hazardous chemicals polluting the air, this is causing the sun's radiation to stay in the earth's atmosphere. The hazardous released chemicals are greenhouse gases which can be produced from industrial processing, industrial agriculture, land transportation, and many others.
To everyone, it could seem like these greenhouse gases are no big deal, but they are. These greenhouse gases traps the sun's radiation in the earth's atmosphere making it hotter on earth. Since the temperature is increasing every day, the effects are melting ice and glaciers. This temperature increase is happening worldwide Mountains in some parts of the world no longer have ice on top of them.There are glaciers that are breaking apart and the extra water is flowing into the ocean. Since there's more water in the ocean, this causes flooding in other parts of the world. It’s especially influential to the state of Florida, which due to rising sea levels, has alarming rates of flooding and is projected to increase substantially. It also affected New York, in 2012 Hurricane Sandy took its toll on the people in New York City and Long Island.
With all the extra hot air in the earth's atmosphere, it's causing vast climate change in the US and other countries. Although, there could be a way to stop these climate changes and stop global warming.
One way to help reduce these greenhouse gases is to switch from gas cars to electric cars. The factor that makes electric cars environmentally safe is, it reduces the harmful chemicals that go into the air. This will decrease emissions from burning fossil fuels. This will help the world tremendously and make the air less polluted.
Another way to help make the world environmentally safe is having solar panels on homes or in communities. The use of solar panels is, instead of having the sun's radiation stay in the earth's atmosphere and make the world hotter, the sun's radiation can be stored in the solar panels and then used to generate energy for the whole house. Not only are you saving the planet, you could save a lot on your electric bill. Because not a lot of people use the electricity produced in 24 hours, all the extra electricity gained can be used when there is a power outage or when it's a cloudy day.
There are many other initiatives that people can take to help make the world a better and a more environmentally safe place. Although only you can help start making a difference in the world.
“If we're destroying our trees and destroying our environment and hurting animals and hurting one another and all that stuff, there's got to be a very powerful energy to fight that. I think we need more love in the world. We need more kindness, more compassion, more joy, more laughter. I definitely want to contribute to that." -Ellen Degeneres
When George Klein retired his tools at the end of this electrician career, he probably didn't realize that he was far from done producing energy.
He spent many years staying up to date on industry practices, and technical awareness in the field. This knowledge base was both a cause for concern and an important skill when deciding who to use for his solar panel installation. From the initial phone call, Klein was involved in deciding where the system would be located, the types of equipment used, and the functionality of the panels. The eager interest continued through to the end of installation, and each question was answered in detail by each employee he encountered.
Klein’s interest in the recent technological advancements represents a small fraction of a much larger national transition to renewable sources. As solar transitions to a more commonplace occurrence, people from all schools of thought, occupations, ages and locations are considering the viability of going solar.
New York State has seen an 800 percent increase over the last 5 years with Long Island being the leading region in the state with over 38,000 residential solar installations.
The interplay of cost savings, governmental incentives, customer service and technological efficiency are what persuaded Klein to his transition. “I went solar because the [electricity] rates are high, and they are only getting higher,” stated Klein. “It will increase the value of the house, so it’s a good investment.” It’s important to note that not one of these factors are to be discounted, Klein later says, “I wouldn't have done it if not for the government incentives and tax credits.”
Klein’s 8 kW system covers all of his electricity usage, including air conditioning. After 44 years of being an electrician, keeping the power on is finally something Klein doesn't have to worry about anymore!
“If you’re thinking of going solar, EmPower Solar is a company to consider. I had EmPower solar install a solar system on my house in June 2016. Their salesman was fully acquainted with their solar systems. He answered all my questions fully. Being a retired electrician of 44 years I had a few. The office project manager kept me informed through the whole process. Their install crew was excellent which made the install move smoothly When it came time to commission the system. Every step was explained to me. At conclusion of the project I had no complaints. When appointments were made they were always on time. Empower Solar is one of the best companies I have ever had the pleasure to do business with.”
For most people, “going solar” means putting 20-30 solar panels on your single-family home to eliminate your electric bill. For others, who have impediments like like large shading trees, multiple dormers, or a slate roof, meant that a solar array was out of the question. With no way around it, these people were stuck paying high electric rates and handling whatever cards your electricity provider dealt you.
Luckily for NYC and Long Island residents, that’s not the case anymore. Here's why:
Let us introduce, Community Solar.
As solar catapults into mainstream consumerism, this business model is on its way to taking center stage. Community Solar “subscriptions” are available to all electricity customers. Subscriptions provide access to all the benefits of clean, lower cost energy without requiring on-site generation. This means you can reap the financial, environmental, and economical benefits of solar energy without having an installation on your home.
The market potential is huge in urban areas, and we are excited to include the service as one of our core offerings through our sister company, Solar Ex .
How it works:
Cheap, clean, communal energy. Money goes back into the pockets of building and land owners businesses that get rent to install solar on their roofs and the energy consumer has a lower monthly electric bill. This is now all possible without having to physically installing the panels on a client’s own home.
Are you interested in lower electric bills, low carbon footprint, and contributing to a strong local economy? Fill out your information here to learn more about subscribing.
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. The cost to generate 10 kilowatt hours (kWh) per month varies from state to state, neighborhood to neighborhood, and even house to house.This guide will help you understand that calculating the true cost of solar involves more than just learning the sticker price for a photovoltaic solar system. It's also important to realize that your solar panels will start paying for themselves as soon as they're activated. The rate at which they do so will vary according to your specific installation, utility rates, energy use, tax credits and other incentives, and several other factors.
Cost of the Solar Panels
We take into account your roof size, production needs, sun exposure time and more to determine how many panels - and which SunPower® system models- will be required for your installation.Before you arrive at this cost, you need to decide what is appropriate for you. If zero money down appeals to you, then a lease may be the best fit. SunPower will own the system, and you benefit from playing just a monthly fee.
Cost of Installation
This cost depends on the number of SunPower® panels you need, plus the labor and permitting involved with your installation, as well as current utility discounts, if any. We will assess your roof architecture, angle to the sun and current consumption needs to determine the best fit for you and your home. Our goal is to achieve the optimal production needs to fit your lifestyle and comfort in your home.
Electricity SavingsYou'll get an estimate of what you can save after your initial consultation. Your actual savings will depend on how much energy you produce each month, your utility's net metering policy (whether and how they handle credits for you energy production) and future increases in utility rates.
IncentivesThe federal Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) allows qualified homeowners deduct 30% of their solar systems cost from their income taxes. If you lease a system, the value of the federal ITC is factored into your monthly payments.
Long Term Value
When we opened our Solar Design Center in 2015, we imagined it as a space where our employees could comfortably work, our clients could easily visit, and members of our Island Park community could wander in to learn more about solar. One thing we hadn’t planned for is the opportunity to assist local groups and organizations with a meeting space, and the potential to treat our office as a hub for civic engagement and growth!
The SunPower by EmPower design center located in Island Park is a local, open aired, and well-equipped space for non-profit organizations. Think; Apple store meets your local coffee shop. The space includes educational and interactive displays, a full kitchen, a conference room with large table, chairs, and a large communal lounge space in the front of the showroom. The front lounge comfortably fits 25-35 people, and the conference room fits 10-14; both are equipped with large display televisions with computer display hookups. The best part? The center is 100% powered by SunPower solar panels and visitors can charge their electric vehicles during the meeting with one of our 4 EV charging stations.
Our design center welcomes all philanthropic, community focused, not for profit organizations to use the space as a hub for whatever effort, big or small.
Some recent organizations that have used our Solar Design Center as a meeting space include; Long Beach Bring Your Own Bag committee and Surfriders of Long Island Central Chapter and a local Girl Scout Troop.
Want to know if you qualify for a Long Island or New York City solar program? Contact us or visit our Virtual Design Center to learn more about the programs you may qualify for. Call us at (516) 837-3459, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or learn more about SunPower here .
The beauty of competition is the motivation it can create in its participants. Whether it’s a global space race, the NBA finals, or a local spelling bee, what’s important about a competition are the achievements that wouldn't have been reached without it.
This is especially true for EmPower Solar as a company. Our founder and CEO, David Schieren, was a participant in the 2005 International Solar Decathlon competition. It’s a competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, held in Washington, D.C. For the competition, each team had to design and build a fully functional solar-powered home to compete against schools around the world. Their project placed 5th out of 18 teams. While placing was exciting, it was not the most important part about David’s decathlon experience. The contest served as the catalyst that propelled EmPower into existence. He met his co-owner, Greg Sachs, during the competition and they teamed up to build EmPower based on the ideas and principles they learned in the decathlon.
Presently, the city of Long Beach finds itself in a similar situation. In the Energy Independence State Street competition, the west end of Long Beach is presented with an opportunity to achieve real change. Neighbors are collaborating to represent their “State Street” in a competition that aims to strengthen the energy independence of the community. The competition is heating up and the overall resiliency of the Long Beach community is strengthening with it. At a time when the renewable energy is in need of acceleration, contests like this one could facilitate the momentum the community needs.
In this case, the stakes are high. The prizes are $2,000 for first, $1,000 for second, and $500 for the third place streets, to be used however contest participants decide.
Sometimes, a little competition is what it takes to empower people to take action.
Want to know if you qualify for a Long Island or New York City solar program? Contact us or visit our Virtual Design Center to learn more about the programs you may qualify for. Call us at (516) 837-3459, email us at email@example.com or learn more about SunPower here .