Climate First Bank launches solar lending platform for homes – pv magazine USA
The solar loans available to Florida customers are without dealer fees. The company is seeking partnerships with residential and commercial installers in the state.
Climate First Bank, an FDIC-insured, climate change-focused community bank, announced that it has launched its first digital solar lending platform for Florida residents. The lending platform offers a streamlined online application process with real-time approvals. The company said eligible customers could be approved for 100 percent no deposit financing in 48 business hours or less.
There are no merchant fees associated with the credit product, which means there are no unexpected upfront costs. Climate First Bank said merchant fees are often levied on solar loans to promote low or even 0% interest rates, but often these fees can amount to as much as 25% of the system cost.
Under the loan program, customers can always prepay in full without penalty. Any payments made in addition to the contractual monthly payment will be applied toward a reduction in the principal amount of the loan. Customers can also access their 26% federal investment tax credit directly or apply it to the loan if they wish.
“Now, with just a few clicks, clients can increase their property values, drastically reduce or even eliminate costs and save the planet by investing in renewable solar energy,” said Ken LaRoe, founder and CEO of Climate First Bank. “I wish there was something that simple when I installed solar power in my house.”
The company said it is interested in partnering with top-tier residential and commercial PV installers. If you want to become a preferred partner, you can apply at this link. Preferred partner benefits include a dedicated personal banker, expedited approvals and processing, and 50% pay at project start, 50% pay at project completion.
“Our robust tool is the next step in sustainable lending and makes it easy for anyone who wants to stick a solar panel on their roof,” said Lex Ford, President of Climate First Bank. “Thanks to our transparent solar financing, consumers can purchase a solar power system with no hidden mark-ups or fees. Customers, installers and the planet alike will benefit from this new platform.”
A 2019 to learn by real estate web giant Zillow found that solar power increases a home’s real estate value by an average of 4.1%. For a $500,000 house, that’s an increase in value of $21,500.
Solar financing is a common route to owning a PV system. According to SolarReviews, secured loans like HELOC cost anywhere from 3% to 8.5% APR, depending on your credit rating. The rate of PACE loans tends to be higher, with APRs ranging from 6.5% to 8.5%. Unsecured loans have higher APRs and generally vary widely in their APRs. They generally range from 6% to 30%, and good credit helps keep interest rates low.
Many solar loans are tax free, but when down payments are required, they typically range from $0 to $3000. You can find a solar loan from as little as three years to 30 years, but typically they range from 10 to 20 years, SolarReviews said.
Climate First Bank is currently offering the first 100 loans generated through the new platform a special promotion of 3.99% APR for 25 years with no merchant fee.
With less than 1% of all rooftop PV in Florida currently, the Sunshine State, Climate First Bank and their competitors still have a lot of work to do to fund the energy transition.
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