While the net cost of solar electric is reduced by incentives and tax credits, only local utility incentives are paid up front. This leaves the business writing a substantial check to the contractor. If your business’s savings account isn’t quite up to the task, special equity lending programs are set up for renewable energy projects.
While not completely exhaustive, a list of solar lenders in Oregon and Washington can be accessed in the Northwest Lender Directory for Home Solar Projects. One of the most popular loan options for small businesses is Umpqua Bank’s GreenStreet program.
Some other financing opportunities:
- Rural Energy for America Program – (REAP) offers grants and/or loan guarantees for the purchase and installation of energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements. Assistance is limited to small businesses and farmers and ranchers. Projects must be located in a rural area. REAP grants and guarantees may be used individually or in combination. Together they may finance up to 75% of a project’s cost. Grants can never finance more than 25% of the project or $250,000, whichever is less.
- State Energy Loan Program – The purpose of the Energy Loan Program (also known as SELP) is to promote energy conservation and renewable energy resource development through low-interests loans. Individuals, businesses, schools, cities, counties, special districts, state and federal agencies, public corporations, cooperatives, tribes, and nonprofits may be eligible for the program if their projects:
- Save energy
- Produce energy from renewable resources such as water, wind, geothermal, solar, biomass, waste materials or waste heat
- Use recycled materials to create products
- Use alternative fuels
- Is primarily in Oregon