BOSTON – January 6, 2015 – The Patrick Administration today announced the final design of a $30 million residential solar loan program to complement the nation-leading solar market in Massachusetts. The Mass Solar Loan program, designed to make it easier for homeowners to finance solar electric projects on their homes, will work with banks and credit unions to expand borrowing options through lower interest rate loans and encourage loans for homeowners with lower income or lower credit scores.
The Mass Solar Loan program, which has been in development since early 2014, follows a Department of Energy Resources (DOER) study links to PDF file that demonstrates lifetime net benefits to homeowners ten times greater for direct solar ownership relative to third-party ownership. Beginning in early 2015, local lenders will be able to sign up to participate in the program, which is scheduled to begin providing loans in the spring of 2015.
The Solar Carve-Out Program administered by DOER has, in partnership with other programs, led to solar installations growing from just 3 MW to 715 MW during the Patrick Administration. There are nearly 20,000 systems installed in the Commonwealth, with the vast majority of these installed on homes. DOER anticipates Mass Solar Loan will support $135 million of loans to 6,000 homeowners and 30 MW of new capacity, and launch a loan product that lenders will continue to offer after the DOER credit enhancements expire.
Mass Solar Loan will be launched in partnership with the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) which will serve as the program’s central administrator.
The launch of Mass Solar Loan coincides with the planned sunset of MassCEC’s successful Commonwealth Solar II rebate program, which has provided rebates for more than 10,500 small-scale solar electric projects at homes and businesses across Massachusetts since 2010.
The funding committed to the program comes from Alternative Compliance Payments (ACP). ACP funds are paid by electric retail suppliers if they have insufficient Renewable or Alternative Energy Certificates to meet their compliance obligations under the Renewable and Alternative Portfolio Standard programs.
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