Solar Loan Program Makes Panel Ownership a Reality for Everyone in Colorado


By Emily Hois

Originally published on Clean Energy Collective


As solar loans gain in popularity as an alternative to leases, our friends at Clean Energy Collective come up with a new twist — one that can help even more people participate in the Solar Revolution. CEC has partnered with Sooper Credit Union to offer the first low-cost, long-term loan program that allows CEC customers to finance their participation in a community solar array. We think solar loans are going to be big, and this is yet another sign!


Homeowners, business owners and renters who want to own panels in a community solar array can do so without breaking the bank. Community-owned solar developer Clean Energy Collective (CEC) has partnered with Sooper Credit Union to offer the Clean Energy Loan Program. This is the first low-cost, long-term loan program created solely for Clean Energy Collective customers.

The name “Sooper” may sound familiar. Initially established to serve the employees of King Sooper’s grocery store chain, the Arvada, Colo.-based Sooper Credit Union later merged with other credit unions in Colorado, as well as Utah, Wyoming and New Mexico.

The unique Clean Energy Loan Program  is also the first solar panel financing program that does not require participants to own their house or office building – making clean energy affordable and accessible to everyone.

Through the loan program, CEC customers have the option of three, five, seven, 10 or 20 year loans. They can opt for no money down, flexible loan terms, and interest rates as low as 2.25% (for three years) and 5.5% (for 10 years). There are also no application fees, and borrowers can pay off their loan at any time without a penalty.

Sooper Credit Union CEO Dan Kester reveals to the Interstate Renewable Energy Council how their model differs from traditional solar loans:

Traditional solar loans are secured (collateralized) with a home equity loan against the home of the rooftop in which the solar system in installed. In other words, these loans are not secured by the loans themselves, but are instead connected to a particular home’s value. Sooper Credit Union uses the actual panels of a community solar array to collateralize the loan. A regulatory filing was also submitted to secure the shared solar interest, as opposed to a deed of trust – as it’s done with traditional solar loans.

“Credit unions should seize this opportunity to invest in our green future, and be recognized as the innovative but responsible lenders that we always have been,” Kester tells Laurel Passera, senior renewables analyst for IREC attorneys Keyes, Fox & Wiedman. “These are great, well-secured, strong revenue producing loans.”


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