With residential solar power increasing in popularity in Ontario many homeowners are seriously considering installing a solar energy system on their own homes. Although the benefits of solar energy are obvious and numerous, it is still a significant financial investment for many homeowners.
The initial upfront costs of solar may appear prohibitive. However, there are now a number of third party financing options available, allowing more people to access solar energy in their own homes.
Sharing Solar in Ontario
Using the benefits of the MicroFIT program introduced by the Ontario government, some solar installers are offering to install a solar energy system on your home with $0 upfront cost. With installers financing the initial cost of equipment and installation, they are repaid through a share of the revenue received under the MicroFIT program.
If you decide to partially finance your system through an installer they might retain partial ownership of your solar energy system for the first 20 years. After 20 years, full ownership will pass to you, allowing you to retain all future income generated by your solar energy system.
The MicroFIT program is only available until Thursday 28th December 2017, or until the 50 MW installation target is reached. So, if you are interested in financing your solar energy system under this option, you will need to act fast.
Solar Leasing Options
The benefits leasing your solar energy system go beyond just the initial no up-front costs. Although you will not technically ‘own’ your solar energy system, your capital is not tied up in equipment and the monthly lease costs could be covered from your solar energy generation.
There are a number of companies in Ontario offering solar lease options, where for no-upfront costs and a fixed monthly fee, you can enjoy the benefits of solar energy.
However, it is important not be by lured by shiny lights and promises. You should conduct thorough research regarding your system’s potential solar generation vs. monthly lease costs, as well as payout options at the end of the lease. It may end up costing you more in the long run.
Bank Solar Finance
Many banks are now offering low-interest green loans aimed at customers installing solar energy systems on their homes. These type of loans often come with a loan repayment frequency aligned with your utility bill cycles and flexible term options. Several financial institutions in Canada are currently offering solar financing: check out TD Renewable Financing, Scotia Eco Energy Financing, and RBC Solar Panel Financing programs.
If your bank does not currently have any green loan offers available, there are other options available when looking to finance your solar installation. From personal loans with banks or private providers, to re-financing your mortgage or using the equity in your home, there are many finance options available.
Don’t let easy finance cost you more
When financing your solar energy installation, it is always important to calculate the additional costs associated with application fees, interest, and monthly fees.
We recommend you check that your finance provider does not charge early payout fees and that you pay any excess earnings from your solar generation into your solar loan. With careful planning and research, it is possible to make solar finance work in your favor and save you money in the long run.
If you have found a great solar finance option in Ontario that is working for you, we would love to hear about it!