06 Jan American Dream 2.0
Declare Your Independence and Take Ownership of Your Energy
The origins of the American Dream date back to the frontier days when early settlers, unbounded by the hierarchical limitations they left behind in Europe, saw the opportunity through hard work to build a better life for their families. In these early beginnings, and even today, this Dream includes home ownership. The purchase of a home is considered a memorable and significant step in our lives and one that pays homage to history as a time of “settling” down.
Despite our ambition to achieve this Dream of home ownership, most of us are content with the concept of renting the energy it takes to occupy our dream homes. We pay our energy landlords on a monthly basis and don’t think much about it – other than we wish other people in the home could learn to turn off the lights!
Even though as a country, we still power our homes with the same coal fire/steam technology used since the days of the first railroads, we have the ability to power them from our own rooftops. We now have the potential to take the American Dream a step further and own our energy for the same price we’re paying our energy landlords. This is possible due to a concept that enabled most of us the ability to recognize the homeownership dream in the first place: financing.
Native is constantly being contacted by institutions promoting their financing options to gain our customers' business. Many of these are conventional banks that want to add solar loans as a product they offer, but with terms more similar to an auto loan. Over the years we have found only a few institutions that we felt offered a financing product that met our customers' needs. However, as the solar industry has matured, more and more financing institutions are starting to offer products. Native’s current offerings reflect the results of a rigorous vetting process so that we can offer specifically designed loans that align with the cost, output, and lifetime of a PV system.
In some areas of Texas, historically the only low/no money down option was a lease product offered by a few large, national solar companies and in very select areas that allow them. While leasing often requires little or no money down, payments are subject to annual escalators, and after 20 years of payment , the lessee has no equity in the system. Also, the sale of homes with leased systems can be problematic if the new owner does not want, or can’t qualify for the existing lease. This could lead to a default, with high penalties owed to reimburse the leasing company.
This fall, new solar finance options have emerged that not only align the financing with the life of the system, but can be cash positive from day one, with little or no money down. This means that the payment is LESS than what the solar system will save off of your electric bill! Not only is your monthly energy bill reduced the same month your system installed, it will never go up as your neighbors’ grid power rates are increased.
This is possible through a 20 year solar loan, with low interest rates starting at 6.49%. The loan is secured by the solar panels on your roof and the loan includes a 15 year solar performance guarantee. If your system goes down or is under performing, it gets serviced for free. To put this another way, because of the long duration (equating to a low monthly payment) and performance guarantee, this loan product has the feel and security of a lease. The difference is you own it!
In addition to the aforementioned solar specific loan, conventional real estate loan options are available for those who are buying/building a new home, remodeling an existing home, or refinancing an existing mortgage. Conventional finance vehicles can include solar as part of the loan with terms consistent with market mortgage rates. The result is the same: loan payments that are less than what would be paid to the utility.
For commercial customers, there are leases and loans that can be cash positive in under 3 years in any Texas market. Commercial customers with access to rebates or production-based incentives [from Austin Energy, CPS Energy in San Antonio, AEP, Oncor, Guadalupe Valley Electric Cooperative, Sharyland Utilities, or City of San Marcos] can realize immediate positive cash flow when these funds are combined with the 30% federal tax credit and the MACRS accelerated depreciation tax structure.
There are several variables and non-solar related circumstances relevant to every building and homeowner’s specific situation. As a builder who works with its customers to find the best home financing solutions and as a solar integrator that works with its customers to find the best solar financing solutions, Native is uniquely positioned to help navigate these complicated waters. Contact us to learn how to start taking ownership of your energy and live the new American Dream.