Financial innovation helps increase residential solar useMany customers are finding it easier than ever before to utilize residential solar power throughout the country as financing options bring more investment into the sector.

Residential solar panel installations are fast becoming an enticing option for many customers as many look to reduce their environmental impact. In many cases, residents do not even need to pay for the price of the project.

Solar lease agreements have been making it easier for many homeowners to go green. Through such agreements, homeowners can benefit from clean and affordable energy without having the pay the upfront costs. Instead, a third party owns the system by paying for the cost of installation, and then sells the power back to the property owner.

More financial innovation
Agreements such as these, along with other financing solutions, have been a major reason for why the residential sector has been so positive for the solar industry. According to GreenTech Media, the residential financing market for the renewable energy source is expected to increase from just $1.3 billion in 2012 to $5.7 billion in 2016.

This is due in large part to more financiers providing funds for these kinds of programs. Two of the major solar installers in the United States have been competing with one another for quite some time in order to provide attractive offers for their customers.

Additionally, more financiers are offering loans for these kinds of projects as more data is generated about the returns that solar systems can provide.

New standardized contacts
There can be a lot of paperwork that comes with these kinds of agreements. In order to make this process easier for residential customers around the country, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory developed the Solar Access to Public Capital working group. In November, the group announced that it had developed two residential standard contracts so that multiple parties can be on the same page when getting together capital for an installation.

“These template contracts should allow national and regional solar developers alike to increase business opportunities and enable the creation of tradable investment vehicles desired by pension funds and other institutional investors critical to scale the industry,” said Paul Schwabe, an energy analyst with NREL in a press release. “This effort is just one of the many ways that the partnerships forged across the SAPC initiative are helping to unleash cost-competitive solar power.”

The two residential contracts that were developed are both forms of residential leases. In the future, these kinds of developments could help make the prospect of solar power even more attractive for homeowners throughout the country.

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