Credit Union Promotes, Installs Solar Energy

In a low interest market, one California credit union has decided to invest its money in a reliable source that offers a big return: the sun. Santa Barbara County Federal Credit Union (SBCFCU) announced its intentions to become the first credit union in California to have a solar electric system installed on its building, and unveiled the new solar loan program that will encourage its members to do the same.

SBCFCU board member Pat McPherson said the Credit Union’s new system will serve as a model for its members. “It demonstrates to our members that solar makes good economic sense and that they can benefit by installing solar power systems on their homes using our No-Hassle Solar Power Loan,” McPherson said. The 38 kW solar system will be installed by solar electricity design and installation company REC Solar in November of this year, and will generate approximately 60 percent of the credit union’s electricity usage. In addition, the Credit Union will begin offering the new No-Hassle Solar Power Loan this month to make solar electric system purchasing easy for members. “The Credit Union leaders are really walking their talk with their solar electric system purchase,” said REC Solar District Manager Michael Lind. “Not only are they encouraging others to invest in solar with their new Solar Power Loan, they are proving that they truly believe in renewable energy with the purchase of their own system. They’re not afraid to be the first to do this and, with the vision of Pat McPherson, are very forward thinking. It is exciting to be working with them.” The clean energy produced by the Credit Union’s solar panels will not only reduce CO2 emissions into the environment by 77,347 pounds per year, it will also reduce the credit union’s electricity costs enough to pay for itself in 10 to 15 years and provide additional income. Among the reasons McPherson said the credit union decided to install the solar PV system was the return on their investment. The solar array will provide the business a 7 percent return on their investment, which is a better return then putting the money in a CD account. REC Solar has begun permitting and design on the system, and expects to start its construction in late October with completion in early November. A ribbon-cutting ceremony will be held in December to celebrate the system’s installation and the new loan program. The No-Hassle Solar Power Loan Program, which will take effect this month, will offer a quick and easy way for members to finance solar electric systems. The interest rate for the loan, which can be for up to $15,000, ranges from a four to six percent floor.
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