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Welcome to Solar Planet's Learning Center.  Our mission is to educate our users about solar power systems and promote the adoption of solar energy. We also offer a free comprehensive guide to solar energy systems, Solar Energy Made Simple, just for signing up for our newsletter.  You can receive critical news, webinar notices, and information about ongoing events.

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Can I Afford It

 

One of the major obstacles for residential solar power is financing it. The average solar power system’s starting price is as much as a new car or four-year college tuition. Yet, after tax incentives and rebates, many consumers find it’s actually rather affordable, especially for those with energy bills that top $100. Unlike pesky store coupons, it’s not one-rebate-per-customer either. You can combine federal, state, city and local utility company resources to subsidize your purchase. Did you know you can even access residential solar power with $0 down? In this article, you’ll learn about the many resources at your disposal to make solar power more affordable. 

Who Can Help?

Financing resources include:

·         Fannie Mae ($15,000 energy efficiency improvement loan - $240,000 conventional mortgage)

·         The Federal Home Mortgage Loan Corporation / Freddie Mac ($240,000 conventional mortgage)

·          The U.S. Department of Agriculture ($300,000)

·         The U.S. Department of Energy (Varies)

·         The U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD area limit)

·         The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (Up to $203,000)

·         The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (According to Fannie/Freddie limits)

·         The U.S. Small Business Administration (Up to $750,000)

 

Federal & State Incentives

State and federal governments would really like to see our country shift toward greater energy independence. Besides, green energy means more skilled labor and manufacturing jobs at home. That is why they’re willing to subsidize the cost of solar power for residences and commercial enterprises. A good place to learn about what is available in your area is the nationally sponsored Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency, which can be located here. You can also check your State Department of Energy for details. Federally, residents are eligible for a 30 percent tax credit.

 

Local Incentives

Cities often offer financial assistance for residents who wish to go green with solar power systems. For example, the mayor of Philadelphia announced Greenworks loans and rebates up to $10,000. Also, your local utility company may offer lease programs or cash rebates. For example, the Long Island NY Power Authority gives consumers $1.75/W DC (up to $17,500) rebates for their grid-connected photovoltaic systems. A good place to check for local incentives is, again, the DSIRE website. Just click on your state for more detailed information!  

 

What Is Solar Leasing?

If you can’t afford to outright buy a solar power system or take out a loan, you may be eligible for a solar leasing program. For $0 down and low monthly payments, you can rent a system installed on your roof and enjoy lowered monthly bills. At the end of the lease term, you can buy the system, renew your contract or get rid of it. One woman who had $300 electric bills each month saw her bills go down to $59 by leasing a solar system. She pays $100 a month for her lease fee, but she still comes out about $100 ahead. SolarCity, Sungevity and Solar-4-Rent are some of popular companies offering lease programs. The downside of leasing is that all tax incentives and rebates go to the lease company, instead of the homeowner.   

 


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