Solar Financing For Any Budget.

Scudder Solar partners with several major lenders who specialize in solar purchasing, financing, and leasing. Our experienced financial support staff will walk you through finding the best type of solar financing to suit your budget, your solar project, and your scope of work.

Are you interested in more information on financing a rooftop or ground mount system? Here is a short overview of the most common solar financing options we'll likely discuss.

PACE Financing.

Scudder Solar serves all of Monterey, Santa Cruz, and San Benito counties, and we are an authorized contractor for CaliforniaFIRST’s residential PACE (Property Assessed Clean Energy) program. This innovative public-private financing option enables homeowners to invest in clean energy improvements like solar power, cool roofs, and insulation, and then finance and pay for these money-saving projects over a 5-20 year period through a surcharge on their property tax bills. This program helps cut the upfront costs of energy-efficiency upgrades like solar panels. PACE financing makes the switch to solar more accessible and affordable for homeowners all across the board. The CaliforniaFIRST program offers 100% financing for energy efficiency with lightning-fast phone approvals, fixed interest rates, no credit score requirements, no upfront costs, and a minimum financing amount of $5,000.

To find out if you pre-qualify for PACE and to learn more about how to apply for this innovative financing program, call 831.384.3900 or 1-800-SOLAR-POWER. One of our Scudder team members will schedule a free solar estimate for you and talk with you about the advantages and benefits of PACE.

Mortgage & Home Equity Loans.

These secured loans (a loan where the borrower pledges an asset as collateral against the loan) were generally the most popular way to finance solar in years past. With record-low interest rates, they are still an excellent choice for some consumers today. Secured loans often offer the best terms and the lowest interest rates for your solar system purchase. Equity loans generally have fixed interest rates and range up to 20 years.

A loan also allows you to maximize your energy savings as much as possible and take advantage of the 30% federal solar tax credit as well as other financial incentives and rebates if you have taxable income. A home equity loan may also be tax deductible (consult with your tax professional for more information and eligibility).

If you’re unable to pay upfront for your solar system in cash, a loan can be a great option, especially if you want full ownership of your system and the potential value that can add to your home. Zillow reports that nationally homes with solar panels sell for an average of 4% higher than homes without solar power. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory also reports that every dollar saved on electrical bills increases your home’s value by $20. In a state like California where the solar market is in demand, that’s a homerun for homeowners.

As a bonus, first-time homebuyers can also explore the option of adding a solar system to their mortgage through loans from the Federal Housing Administration and Fannie Mae. These loans include financing for home improvements and energy-efficient upgrades such as solar into the initial price of the home.

Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC).

Another flexible and low-rate financing option for solar is a HELOC that, like a home equity loan, allows you to borrow against your home’s value as collateral. A HELOC allows you to obtain cash only as you need and often requires interest to be paid during the initial term of the loan. However, HELOCs have variable rates, unlike a fixed home equity or personal loan.

Same-as-Cash (SAC).

SAC financing for residential solar systems includes zero interest and zero payments for the specified time period (typically up to 12 months). When the SAC period ends, you can pay the full principal with no interest incurred or begin to make payments while interest accrues. Same-as-cash financing (a type of unsecured loan) is generally predicated upon your good credit.

Unsecured Loans.

Better known as personal loans, these loans are available from banks and other financial institutions. There are several unsecured loans available to finance a solar PV system, and these loans are typically based on your good credit, FICO score, and ability to repay the loan.

The interest rates can be high with personal loans, but unlike home equity loans there is no collateral required — meaning your property is safe in the event you miss a payment. And at the end, you will be the owner of your solar system, which can add great savings to, or completely eliminate, your electrical bills and increase the value of your home, in addition to long-term clean energy.

Ownership also allows you to take advantage of rebates and other tax incentives like the federal solar tax credit if you have taxable income while minimizing your impact on the environment.

Power Purchase Agreements (PPA's).

Power Purchase Agreements come in various forms, but generally, PPA's are reserved for commercial solar projects of 100kw or more. Similar to a lease, a PPA agreement is signed between two parties (the customer and the master tenant), and terms can run from 15-20 years. The solar installer purchases, installs, and maintains your solar system in a PPA and guarantees your system's production. At the same time, you (the customer) pay a low monthly rate for the energy the installed system is producing.

Typically, the customer will pay for generated electricity on a per kilowatt-hour (kWh) rate specified in the PPA, and you will lock in your electricity rate for the term of the agreement (unless it includes an annual escalator, which could raise your rates on a yearly basis). On average, this rate is lower than what the utility (in California, that is likely PG&E) charges, and because it’s fixed, you are insulated from yearly increases to already costly electricity. Often, that translates to approximately 10-20% savings on your electric bills.

If you are unable to benefit from the tax incentives and rebates from owning a solar system and prefer not to make a large payment upfront, a PPA can be a simple and low hassle way to get a solar up and running for your home.

For more information on PPA's, please read our blog article entitled Should You Bank on a PPA?


Attention all ag producers and rural small business owners! Have you heard of the USDA's Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) and REAP Grants? You can cover up to 40% of the total installation cost of a solar energy system project ($1 million maximum). Not only that, you can combine other financial incentives like the 30% federal solar tax credit with a REAP Grant! The REAP program can help you reduce energy costs, improve operational efficiency, and boost your bottom line! Visit the REAP website to learn more about the application process and eligibility requirements, and then contact us to schedule a free solar site evaluation and discuss how to get started with REAP.

Cash Purchases.

If your finances allow, purchasing a solar system with cash upfront is hands-down the best option to optimize your energy savings from solar. While the costs are not inexpensive, you avoid paying the monthly payments and interest you would on a loan — and can see returns on your investment sooner than later. Your electricity bills will be all or nearly eliminated for the next 25 years (typical lifespan of the system), plus you’ll benefit from financial incentives and rebates associated with solar energy like the 30% federal solar tax credit.

Solar Leases.

Have you ever leased a car? Leasing a solar system is quite similar, including the low or no upfront cost for the equipment and installation of your panels and a fixed monthly payment based on your lease agreement. However, the age old question still stands; is it better to buy or lease? Will you save more by purchasing your solar system outright, or hedging your bets with a lease? That debate rages onward.

If you are on a fixed income and/or do not have taxable income (leaving you unable to take advantage of solar tax incentives and rebates), a lease may be a great option that will save money on your monthly electric bills and would prefer to allow someone else to handle the maintenance and monitoring of your system. You’ll also be able to budget easily for your monthly solar payments, since you’ve locked in the amount from the start.

At the end or sometimes during your contract, you often will have the option to buy your system outright and add value to your home. This will also allow you to then take full advantage of incentives and rebates associated with utilizing solar energy, if you are eligible.

Ready to Go Solar?


If you've been considering solar and you'd like to talk to a contractor who will give you straightforward answers about financing in a no-obligation environment, give us a call today at 1-831-384-3900 or -1-800-SOLAR-POWER and schedule your FREE, personal, on-site solar evaluation with Scudder Solar. We will be happy to walk you through all of the details and decisions you'll need to be aware of and help you choose the financing model that suits you best!

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