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Listen Up: Residential Solar Financing Options

Financing has been the magic bullet for unlocking the residential solar market in the U.S. By spreading out the payments for a system to 20 years, solar customers are cash flow positive in many U.S. locations. So far, various Third Party Ownership (TPO) structures — generally leases and PPAs — have been the preferred form of financing. Basically, a third party owns the system on a homeowner's roof, the TPO company gets a monthly payment from the homeowner, and the homeowner gets electricity that is less expensive than utility power.

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Retail banks would seem to be a natural fit for home solar loans — after all, they provide mortgages, car loans and home improvement loans. But these banks have been on the sidelines. Until now. Admirals Bank was the first one out of the blocks with a comprehensive program that meets the needs of both homeowners and installers. For homeowners, they offer attractive interest rates, short and long loan terms, and a secured loan structure so that the interest is tax deductible. For installers, they provide the training and tools so that the bank's financing experts can engage quickly and effectively with homeowners to close the deal.

Ed Steins, VP and National Director of Renewable Lending at Admirals Bank, is our guest on this week's Energy Show. Ed's background in the residential installation business helps him put a real world perspective on the differences between solar loans and solar leases. If you're interested in the latest residential solar financing option, don't miss this week's Energy Show on Renewable Energy World.

Find more episodes of The Energy Show here.

About The Energy Show

As energy costs consume more and more of our hard-earned dollars, we as consumers really start to pay attention. But we don't have to resign ourselves to $5/gallon gas prices, $200/month electric bills and $500 heating bills. There are literally hundreds of products, tricks and techniques that we can use to dramatically reduce these costs — very affordably.

The Energy Show on Renewable Energy World is a weekly 20-minute podcast that provides tips and advice to reduce your home and business energy consumption. Every week we'll cover topics that will help cut your energy bill, explain new products and technologies in plain English, and cut through the hype so that you can make smart and cost-effective energy choices. 

About Your Host

Barry Cinnamon is a long-time advocate of renewable energy and is a widely recognized solar power expert. In 2001 he founded Akeena Solar — which grew to become the largest national residential solar installer by the middle of the last decade with over 10,000 rooftop customers coast to coast. He partnered with Westinghouse to create Westinghouse Solar in 2010, and sold the company in 2012.

His pioneering work on reducing costs of rooftop solar power systems include Andalay, the first solar panel with integrated racking, grounding and wiring; the first UL listed AC solar panel; and the first fully “plug and play” AC solar panel. His current efforts are focused on reducing the soft costs for solar power systems, which cause system prices in the U.S. to be double those of Germany.

Although Barry may be known for his outspoken work in the solar industry, he has hands-on experience with a wide range of energy saving technologies.  He's been doing residential energy audits since the punch card days, developed one of the first ground-source heat pumps in the early ‘80s, and always abides by the Laws of Thermodynamics.

Lead image: Green microphone via Shutterstock

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