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Solar Energy Financing

Solarponics will help put you in touch with solar energy financing programs. A little bit of knowledge can save you a lot of money in financing charges and interest.

Below you will find brief descriptions of the different solar energy financing programs that are available, with their benefits and drawbacks. Questions? Consult your tax advisor or financial advisor. Call a Solarponics energy advisor for a solar energy quote.


What is PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy)?

With Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) residential and commercial property owners living within a participating district can finance up to 100% of their project and pay it back over time as a voluntary property tax assessment through their existing property tax bill.

Why use PACE financing?

  • Get up to 100% solar financing on qualifying improvements
  • PACE may eliminate the need to pay out of pocket for your project
  • TERM: 12 to 20 year repayment options
  • TRANSFERABLE: Because PACE ties the solar loan to the property, not an individual, the loan transfers upon sale.

Active PACE programs In San Luis Obispo County:

California First: The CaliforniaFIRST Program is a Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing program for residential and commercial properties. Administered by Renew Financial, a national clean energy finance company, CaliforniaFIRST allows property owners to finance the installation of energy and water improvements on homes or businesses through the issuance of a municipal bond, which can then be paid back as a line item on their property tax bill. CaliforniaFIRST financing doesn’t rely on a credit score and does not require any money down, opening the program to a wide range of Californians.


Ygrene Works: Ygrene Energy Fund is a leading developer and administrator of clean energy financing programs throughout the United States. The fully funded Ygrene Works program provides immediately accessible financing for renewable generation, energy efficiency and water conservation upgrades to both residential and commercial property owners with no upfront costs. To-date, Ygrene has approved and/or funded $900 million worth of residential and commercial PACE projects that have resulted in more than 13,000 jobs and nearly $2 billion of utility savings for property owners.


A solar financing partnership with Coast Hills Federal Credit Union and Ventura County Credit Union to offer unsecured loans with low rates and flexible terms of loan repayment up to 15 years in order to achieve manageable monthly costs on  energy efficiency upgrades.

The program is funded in part by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act via the U.S. Department of Energy’s BetterBuildings program and the California Energy Commission. emPower is also funded by California utility ratepayers and administered by Southern California Gas Company, Southern California Edison Company and Pacific Gas & Electric under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission.


Every homeowner in SLO County who is current on their property taxes and mortgage payments is eligible of participate. EmPower is funded in part by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, US Dept of Energy, SO Cal Gas, PG&E, So Cal Edison and the Public Utilities Commission.

  • INTEREST RATE: as low as 5.99%
  • TERM: Up to 15 years
  • BENEFITS: • Making your home more comfortable, efficient and safe just got easier. emPower provide a variety of services that includes rebates up to $6,500, low interest financing, free expert energy advice, personalized customer support • Be More Comfortable • Save Energy and Lower Bills • Improve Air Quality • Update outdated Equipment • Solar energy system is eligible for the 30% Federal Tax Credit
  • GOOD FOR A HOMEWOWNER WHO: • has a grossly energy inefficient home that needs multiple energy saving upgrades. Multiple upgrades can be financed together, saving more money • doesn’t have great credit and cannot qualify for other unsecured loan

**emPower financing is restricted to eligible projects. Solar electric systems are only eligible if completed with other eligible energy efficiency packages. See Eligible Projects page for more details


GOOD FOR A HOMEOWNER WHO: • has good credit • wants the lowest possible monthly payment • Does NOT want to finance a lot of upfront fees • wants flexibility in their financing • wants extended warranty, maintenance and production guarantee.

WHAT IS IT? Solar Energy Green Loans are renewable energy and efficiency loans typically administered by a community bank or credit union.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE?  Green Loans typically require a 650+ credit score, and 10% + equity in home
INTEREST RATE: as low as 2.99% depending on credit score
TERM: 12 to 20 year repayment options
BENEFITS: • May be eligible for the 30% federal Tax credit (consult a tax advisor) •  Interest may be tax deductible (consult a tax advisor) • Available with ANY panel manufacturer and equipment • Greatest flexibility of terms and equipment option(s).
GOOD FOR A HOMEOWNER WHO:  • can take advantage of the 30% federal tax credit • does not want to take out a second mortgage • is installing a qualified energy efficient upgrade

WHAT IS IT? Also referred to as a second mortgage, you borrow against built-up equity in your home. Traditionally considered a secured line of credit.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE?  Homeowner with a 680+ credit score • Current on first mortgage and 70% LTV (loan to value)
INTEREST RATE: as low as 3.99%
TERM: 10-years, renewable, or 30-year fixed
BENEFITS: *  May be eligible for the 30% federal Tax Credit (consult a tax advisor) • You are investing in your home • No pre-payment penalty in most cases • Long-term repayment options for lower monthly payments •  Interest may be tax-deductible (consult your tax advisor) •  Allows for interest only payments, keeping more money in pocket
GOOD FOR A HOMEOWNER WHO: • can take advantage of the 30% federal tax credit • has equity in their home • wants to take advantage of the historically low interest rates • wants the flexibility of interest only payment or prepayment without penalty

If you have NO tax liability, do NOT plan on selling your home in the next 20 year, and have no other means of paying for a solar energy system, a lease may be a good option for you. Leases come with 20, 25 or 30-year repayment term, with equipment warranties and production guarantees. DOES NOT quality for the 30% federal tax credit.
NOTE: Although a cash purchase or a fixed loan solar energy system will save you the most money, a lease can still save homeowners more money than doing nothing. As with all financing companies, make sure you are leasing thru a reputable institution. There are a few national companies who also have solid lease programs.
San Luis Obispo County – Santa Barbara County – Monterey County


The California Solar Initiative Thermal Program for Commercial Swimming Pool Heating
• Rebates cover 50% of system costs, or more
• Includes multi-family residential, commercial, governmental, educational and non-profit
• Incentives are for gas customers of PG&E.

WHAT IS IT? Solarize San Luis Obispo County (Solarize SLO) is group purchasing power offering pre-negotiated, lower system costs.  Sponsored and administered by Community Environmental Council, serving as homeowner advocate.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE?  Every homeowner with a 680+ credit score, 10% equity in home, living in SLO County.
BENEFITS:  • Typically 15% below market costs for same system • Allows for 30% federal tax credit • Installers (Solarponics) are pre qualified and vetted for quality assurance • Trusted advocate negotiating on your behalf.