Financing the cost of your solar thermal system is not as tricky as it may seem. Although some special programs are available to help you purchase solar thermal technologies, most of the financing options are familiar ones.
One common way to finance a solar system is through your mortgage or through a home-equity loan secured by your home. Mortgage loans offer lower interest rates and longer pay schedules than conventional bank loans, and interest on your mortgage loan is tax-deductible. Financing your system when you apply for your mortgage—whether because you are building or refinancing—can make the application process simpler and less costly.
Conventional bank loans are another way to finance your solar system. However, your system is a long-term investment; this should be reflected in the pay schedule for the loan. Look for longer terms and lower interest rates, which will help keep your solar thermal system affordable.
Many states have incentives for buying solar technologies. Check with your state or local energy office or your state departments of revenue or finance for information. Some electric utilities offer rebates to customers who install solar energy equipment because these installations help utilities reduce energy use during times of high demand.
You can also check the National Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy(DSIRE). DSIRE is prepared by the North Carolina Solar Center. It provides information on financial and regulatory incentives to promote renewable energy technologies.