If you’ve ever thought about installing a solar panel system to reduce your energy bills, now is the time to act. As we explained in a previous post, the utility companies want to change the way solar customers are reimbursed for the excess power they generate. Plus, the federal tax credit will expire in 2016.

Some homeowners decide to lease a solar panel system in order to reduce their upfront costs. But by doing so, they lose out on the federal tax credit, and they don’t save as much on their energy bills as they could if they purchased a solar panel system.

Luckily, there’s another option for homeowners who want to install solar to save money on their energy bills, take advantage of the tax credit now, and increase the value of their home—without making a big payment at the start of the project. It’s called the PACE program, or property assessed clean energy financing.

Solar Financing with the PACE Program

With PACE, qualified homeowners can finance up to 100 percent of their energy efficient home improvements and pay the loan back as a voluntary assessment on their existing property tax bill. Depending on the type of improvement, the cost can be amortized over 20 years. So, when you install solar panels, it’s possible that the savings on your power bill could be greater than the cost of your loan payment. Also, the loan attaches to the property, which means that if you want to sell your home before the solar panel system is paid off, the loan can be transferred to the new buyer.

The PACE program makes it possible for you to install a solar panel system with virtually no out-of-pocket expenses. And the financing may even be tax-deductible.

According to the Center for Sustainable Energy, there are four PACE providers in San Diego County: AllianceNRG, CaliforniaFIRST, HERO Program, and Ygrene Works. In Riverside County, the HERO Program and Ygrene Works offer PACE financing. At RC Energy Solutions, we’ve worked extensively with all of the PACE programs. They have a 95 percent approval rating, which makes it easy to get the funds you need.

Other Solar Financing Options

Of course, the PACE program isn’t the only way to finance your solar panel system—although it is one of the most convenient. Some banks and credit unions offer special loans at attractive rates just for solar panel installation projects. For example, Admirals Bank offers non-equity based solar loans. And you could always apply for a traditional home equity line of credit.

To explore your solar financing options, check out the list of clean energy financing programs from the Center for Sustainable Energy, or download a copy of “A Homeowner’s Guide to Solar Financing” from the Clean Energy States Alliance.

Start Your Solar Project Now

No matter which financing option you choose, one thing is clear: if you want to apply the federal solar tax credit to this year’s tax returns, you’ve got to get started soon. To qualify, your solar installation project should be completed by December 31, 2015.

Don’t wait any longer to start saving money on your energy bill. Contact us for your free in-home assessment today. We’ll review your current usage and develop an energy-saving plan that fits your needs—and your budget.

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