While this entire website is full of great information, here you will find simple answers to the most commonly asked Solar PV questions.
Q: How do I get more information?
A: You can sign up for our email list to receive updates on Solar PV events, trainings, legislative items, and more.
Q: If we have a security interest in the solar energy equipment, can it be insured against hail or other damage?
A: Yes, the same as the structure or any other asset you may secure under a loan.
Q: We’ve been approached to finance a “Community Solar” project. What is “Community Solar”?
A: Community solar consists of a central installation that provides customers with an opportunity to opt into the solar installation and receive a proportional share of financial or energy output of the system, thereby allowing customers to realize the environmental and economic benefits of solar energy without requiring a solar installation of their own. For more information, visit our Community Solar page!
Q: What are the risk factors when lending for solar energy equipment?
A: Risk factors include the same concerns as for any other asset-based loan - financial strength and stability of the borrower, credit history, and so forth. There is also a difference. Unlike a piece of machinery, solar PV, once installed, has very little, if any, maintenance or overhead associated with it. Risk factors appear to be lower than for most equipment purchases. Properly designed and installed, a solar PV system will often have a net positive cash flow if the term of the loan and interest rate are appropriate. Calculations as of June 2016 have shown the value of energy produced to be equal to or greater than the monthly payment on a loan. If the borrower has a P&L and balance sheet that meet your criteria, odds are good to excellent that they will be paying the bank instead of the utility company. Once the loan is paid, their cash flow position improves by the amount of the loan payment and more, because the cost of the solar electricity does not increase with time as does the cost of utility energy.
Q: What is the “PACE” program?
A: “PACE” stands for “Property Assessed Clean Energy”. PACE may be used to finance energy efficiency, renewable energy, and water conservation upgrades to buildings. PACE pays for 100% of a project’s costs and is repaid for up to 20 years with an assessment added to the property’s tax bill. PACE financing stays with the building upon sale. For more information on PACE Financing, visit our Payment Options page.
Q: What lifespan can I expect out of my solar panels?
A: Almost all panels are guaranteed to last between 25 and 30 years; and some are able to produce electricity for much longer! Properly installed solar panels should require little maintenance, making for an excellent return on investment. Inverters (converting DC current to AC current) are now estimated to last 20 years or longer. Even then, they typically do not just quit; they gradually become less efficient.