The Energy Freedom Loan is a turnkey financing solution that benefits both homeowners and installers.
Energy Freedom Loan
Stephane Dufrenne | Upsolar America, Inc.
What is the Energy Freedom Loan?
The Energy Freedom Loan is a turnkey financing solution that benefits both homeowners and installers. For homeowners, the loan program addresses the primary barriers to PV adoption – high upfront costs and/or unfeasible lease commitments – through a 20-year agreement with fixed monthly payments and interest rates as low as 5.99 percent. The program also features high-quality equipment and long-term operations and maintenance services, helping homeowners maximize their solar investments.
How is this program different from other financing options?
Solar leases have become popular in recent years as a method to lower the costs of going solar. The challenge here is that homeowners are sacrificing a significant amount of upfront and long-term financial benefits. The leasing organization, as the owner of the system, monetizes all local rebates and federal tax credits associated with the installation. Also, should the homeowner decide to move, he or she could face a penalty for breaking the lease. Essentially, with a lease, every payment is just another expense.
Conversely, with a loan, each payment is an investment—homeowners are building equity in the system on a monthly basis. Whereas leasing companies typically target only 10-20% savings on an energy bill, the Energy Freedom Loan allows homeowners to generate free electricity over time. Additionally, in the event of a move, the installed PV system enables a homeowner to sell his/her home at a premium, as there is added value through the built-in PV system
When compared to other loan offerings, the Energy Freedom Loan places minimal financial burden on the consumer. It’s a 20-year, fixed-rate, zero-money-down option. Other solar loans typically cover a much shorter period.
Where is the program available?
The loan program is currently available in the U.S. So far, our main focus has been on the California and Arizona markets.
How do installers benefit from this program?
The Energy Freedom Loan program addresses the cash flow and support challenges encountered in competing loan programs. Rather than having to front money for equipment, installers are not required to pay out-of-pocket expenses or dealer fees, and benefit from a seamless credit approval process. Additionally, Upsolar provides a dedicated support team specifically for installers.
How do homeowners benefit?
This solution safeguards homeowners’ investments from day one by supplying reliable modules, inverters and racking components, as well as qualified installers to ensure the system achieves peak performance and delivers energy bill savings off the bat. These savings can be reinvested in the system, reducing overall costs by accelerating the project payback time.
What sort of response have you seen so far?
The early response has been extremely positive and we have enrolled a host of installers eager to expand their business with our solution.
Our offering will continue to improve with new features, including design services. Installers can then concentrate on their primary tasks—selling and installing systems—rather than worrying about procurement or getting credit lines with local distributors.
What components are used in the installations?
The installations use Upsolar modules and racking, and either Solectria string inverters or APS micro-inverters.
Upsolar Modules and Racking:
- Module Model: UP-M250P (poly 250W) with black frames or UM-265M-B (mono265W black frames, black back-sheet)
- Guarantees: 10-year workmanship warranty, 25-year reinforced production output guarantee,
- 3rd party insurance
- Racking Includes: Everything needed for the installation (standoffs, tile hooks, rails, rail splice - UL Listed -, Mid & End clamps).
- Model: Solectria PVI 3600-7800TL series
- Guarantees: 10-year product warranty
- Extendable to 15 or 20 years
- Model: YC-500A, handles two PV modules simultaneously
- 20 years warranty
What is the anticipated savings?
- How is the amount of the loan determined?
- What percentage of power usage is achieved?
The Energy Freedom Loan amount is scalable to meet the unique needs of each homeowner, up to $65,000. The amount of the loan is determined by the total cost of installation. For example, a 5KW system at $4/W would result in a loan of $20,000. The customer can decide to take out a loan for the full amount, or a place a down payment on the system and take out a loan for the remaining amount.
Even as electricity prices fluctuate, payments remain fixed, which guarantees more savings over the lifetime of the loan. A typical 5.5 kW system can produce an average of 9,512 kWh per year, which means an Upsolar customer might go from paying $0.20/kWh to just $0.07/kWh after installation. Once the loan is paid off, energy generated by the PV system is completely free.
Please tell us a bit about Upsolar?
Upsolar is a leading international developer and producer of high quality solar PV modules at competitive prices, ensuring secure long-term investments for our customers around the world. By utilizing a fables, asset-light business model and top-tier module components, Upsolar is able to stay ahead of the demand curve and offer innovative, tailored PV technologies to meet customers' varying performance and aesthetic needs. All Upsolar modules are covered by industry-leading product warranties and performance guarantees, including third-party coverage options. To date Upsolar has sold more than 1 GW of PV modules worldwide.
About Stephane Dufrenne
Stephane Dufrenne is the President of Upsolar America, Inc. and the CTO of Upsolar Global. In addition to his years in the solar industry with Upsolar Group, Dufrenne has more than a decade of experience in the semiconductor industry, including work with Philips & NXP Semiconductors. Dufrenne supervises all technical functions for Upsolar, including quality systems, customer support, certifications, R&D center management, new product development and system application development. Dufrenne received his Masters in Engineering from Supélec in Paris, France.
The content & opinions in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views of AltEnergyMag
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