As arguments for switching to renewable energy become more urgent, homeowners are finding new options to help finance rooftop solar systems. Over the last five years, U.S. electricity costs have jumped more than 21 percent, and the average American household now produces 7.4 tons of carbon dioxide through yearly electricity consumption. Homeowners who switch to solar energy can halve their electricity bill or eliminate it completely. “My SolarWorld system really cut my electric bill, and I was able to go solar with no money down through financing,” said Glen Takabayashi, a retired Marine colonel and homeowner in Temecula, Calif., whose solar array was installed by Orange County-based Infinity Solar. Like Takabayashi, many homeowners either can’t or don’t want to pay for solar panels upfront. Fortunately, there are affordable ways to finance solar installation. “I felt good about buying solar made here in the U.S. because I think it’s important to support American jobs,” Takabayashi added, noting that SolarWorld offers the only financing option dedicated to American-made panels.
SolarWorld, the largest U.S. solar panel manufacturer, created the Freedom Plan to help families of all sizes and incomes afford a solar system. In choosing among three plans, homeowners minimize upfront costs by replacing all or a portion of their electric bill with a monthly solar-power payment. The end result: lower utility costs guaranteed for 20 years. Consider your options: Zero Down Plan. Like the name indicates, this plan requires no down payment and no upfront costs. But homeowners are assured a monthly electricity payment that is less than their current bill. The contract includes solar monitoring, maintenance, repairs and insurance coverage at no extra charge. Low Down Plan. For those who have a little more flexibility with a down payment, the Low Down Plan asks for a small upfront cost, usually less than $5,000. This option locks in a set solar payment that provides even more annual savings. It also guarantees system maintenance, repairs, insurance coverage and monitoring. Prepay Plan. If households already have the money saved to go solar, they can pay for 20 years’ worth of energy upfront and get the lowest electricity rate available. The prepay plan eliminates all or most of the household’s utility bill over the duration of the two-decade contract. Free insurance, regular maintenance and monitoring are included, too.