Robust PV market on course in 2016

Nearly one-third of 2016 is over, and this looks like a banner year for the residential solar photovoltaic (PV) market. To back that up, recent research studies project that global solar installations will reach 64.7 GW in 2016, and the top three solar nations will remain China, the United States and Japan, with America overtaking Japan for the number-two spot. The “PV Three” will account for about two-thirds of the global solar market.

Although China is expected to continue leading the global PV market, the United States is expected to show the most robust growth in 2016, fueled by the anticipation of the federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) expiration in 2020, which developers and residential rooftop owners have already factored into their plans when they received a 5-year extension last year.

In 2016, the U.S. is set to exceed the much-anticipated 10-GW mark, to leap ahead of Japan.

PV deployment in America is currently trending on an accelerated track and with the ITC continuing through 2020; all indications are that the uptrend will continue at least until then. Some forecasters believe the United States will reach 10.8 GW for 2016, and move upward from there. The pundits believe this uptrend should continue through the end of the current ITC schedule.

While the ITC has been a major market driver at the national level, Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) continues playing a significant role at the state level. Last year, Hawaii became the first state to enact a 100 percent renewable energy policy to reduce its dependency on imported fossil fuels. California, the biggest solar market in the U.S, also increased its renewable goal to 50 percent by 2030 and the state of New York followed the suit. These will continue boosting the industry in the long-term.

At the local level, we see Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) residential solar growth set up in California and New York. In California, San Francisco will be launching a CCA program in April, 2016.  CCA is a system adopted into law in California, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Rhode Island, which allows cities and counties to aggregate the buying power of individual customers within a defined jurisdiction in order to secure alternative energy supply contracts on a community-wide basis, but allowing consumers not wishing to participate to opt out. Also known as municipal aggregation, governmental aggregation, electricity aggregation, and community aggregation, CCAs now serve nearly 5% of Americans in over 1300 municipalities. CCAs are de facto public utilities of a new form that aggregate regional energy demand and negotiate with competitive suppliers and developers, rather than the traditional utility business model based on monopolizing energy supply.

San Mateo county, and many of the cities in their region will be launching a CCA program called, “Peninsula Clean Energy” in August of this year.  There are also CCA efforts in the Los Angeles regions, the Monterey Bay regions, the North Coast, and in Alameda County where Oakland and Berkeley are located.

Other indicators of growth include the fact that, like China, the United States agreed to reduce or limit emissions at COP21 in Paris. This move, fueled by climate change is a huge driver for CCAs, as local governments want a tool that redirects an existing funding stream that exists in each community, and use it to get more renewable energy onto the grid to reduce GHG emissions.

The solar industry is poised to compete with other energy renewable technologies as the world moves to change its energy infrastructure.

For more information on residential solar and for financing programs that fit the needs of  homeowners and Installers, contact your SunLender representative today. Visit www.Sunlender.comor contact Michael Thompson: Telephone:  408-766-9475; Email:

The sun fuels growth … in record numbers

We count on the sun to fuel growth … not only in nature, but also in the solar industry, as an SEIA (Solar Energy Industries Association) report. “U.S. Solar Market Insight Report 2015 Year in Review” concludes that the U.S. solar energy market will grow a whopping 119 percent in 2016. While 2015 yielded a record 7.3 gigawatts (GW) of new photovoltaic (PV) capacity, the industry successful extension of the solar investment tax credit (ITC) is expected to support more than 93 GW of additional PV capacity over the next six years. And it is expected that over the next two years, the U.S. will install 26 gigawatts of solar, which is roughly equal to all of the solar capacity that had been previously installed in the entire history of industry — from the beginning of time to now.

These numbers will make PV the top contributor to new electricity generation capacity in 2016.

Other prognostications over the long-term ITC extension include the following:

By 2020, nearly 100 GW of solar capacity will be operating in the U.S.— enough to power 20 million homes and provide 3.5 percent of the nation’s electricity.

Growth in the solar market over the next five years will lead to the addition of 220,000 jobs. By 2020 roughly 420,000 people will work in the U.S. solar industry.

By 2020, the U.S. solar industry will complete $30 billion worth of installations annually— nearly double the value of installations in 2015, despite expectations of continued price declines.

At the end of 2015, roughly 960,000 homes in the U.S. had installed a solar PV system. The millionth system is expected to be installed very soon.

To help you with your installation and financing of residential solar panel systems, or to help Installers finance and set up systems for their customers, contact your SunLender representative today. Visit or contact Michael Thompson: Telephone:  408-766-9475; Email:

Are solar leases the way to go?

Assuming the homeowner doesn’t have the cash for an outright purchase, their options are to finance a loan (As we discussed last week), or lease the system with a financing/leasing company.

The Solar lease really made the modern residential solar market possible because it allowed customers to go solar with $0 down. Since many homeowners didn’t have enough income to fully utilize these tax credits, third-party financing mad sense as the industry developed.

For homeowners that are looking for a worry-free, professionally managed solar solution, with predictable monthly payments, leasing may be the best choice.

Solar PV system leasing gives Homeowners many of the financial benefits of installing a solar power system without having to pay cash or take out a loan for it.

With a lease the third party owner (TPO) will install solar panels at your property and, in exchange, the Homeowner will agree to pay them a below-market rate to use the solar electricity for the term of the agreement. Choosing this option to install solar panels can help the Homeowner save 10 to 30 percent per month over your utility’s electricity bills without any upfront investment required. While not eligible for rebates, tax credit or other government incentives, the Homeowner who leases a Solar PV system is also not responsible for maintaining the solar panels; and at the end of the lease, Lease and system providers, such as SunLender will either remove them or sell the system to the Homeowner at their fair market value.

The SunLender Lease requires no out of pocket expenses, and system production performance is monitored on a daily basis with any underperformance issues addressed immediately.

The SunLender lease offers low predictable payments for a 20-year term. By including an escalator that gradually increases the monthly payment, as utility rates increase over time, homeowners can get extremely low rates now and pay less than they would have otherwise through a utility. Programs are designed so that monthly payment rates will be lower than utility rates.

Additionally, since SunLender handles the paperwork for all tax credits, rebates or other incentives and passes the savings to the homeowner by offering lower rates.

And savings start immediately, as upon interconnection, Homeowners have an opportunity to save on their utility bill for the lifetime of their system. The savings start immediately.

Through SunLender, the Homeowner has a wide variety of American-made or Imported Equipment from which to choose,   included on their AVL (Approved Vendor List), and upon request SunLender will vet vendors not currently included.

End of Lease options through SunLender are Homeowner-friendly, as at the end of the lease agreement, the Homeowner can continue the lease, choose to buy it at a discounted fair-market value, or ask to have it removed at no cost.

Additionally, transfer of ownership is made easy. If the Homeowner is selling their home, the system, can be transferred to the new owner, or the Homeowner can pay the agreement off with no penalty, and then sell their property with the added value of a solar system.

Whether a Homeowner leases a Solar PV system or finances it through a loan, the Homeowner wins financially, the environment wins ecologically and the benefits of renewable power continue to pay off every day.

If a Lease is the best way for you to go, or if you still prefer a loan option, contact your SunLender rep through this website –


Homeowners who prefer to own through a loan

Many Homeowners find that owning their roof top solar photovoltaic (PV) system is a better long-term solution than leasing one. They may have the ability to use the Income Tax credits or Rebates and they are comfortable filing for them.

Loans make sense if the homeowner is primarily interested in maximizing the financial benefits of installing a solar panel system. And benefits begin immediately, as upon interconnection, Homeowners have an opportunity to save on their utility bill for the lifetime of their system.

The homeowner can benefit from reducing the amount of federal and state taxes that they pay if they have a tax liability that is larger than the amount of credits they could receive.

Homeowners who finance their systems through SunLender Loan programs keep all available tax credits and rebates, and they can get into the system with no money down and no out-of-pocket expenses are required.

Through SunLender, Homeowners may choose between a fixed rate or an adjustable financing program … whichever works best for them.

An element of the SunLender loan provides for giving the Homeowner time to collect their 30% income tax credit (ITC). No Payment and No Interest will be required for 30% of the cost of the system during the first 12 months of the agreement.

Loan approval is quick and easy, and benefits Installers as well as Homeowners, as SunLender’s advanced credit underwriting process creates a larger pool of potential customers that qualify, and that translates into more sales. With SunLender’s easy financing approvals, FICO credit scores as low as 640 may be accepted.

Finally, Homeowners are not tied into a small set of equipment choices. When financing the system through SunLender, Homeowners have access to installation of a wide variety of American-made or Imported Equipment included on their AVL (Approved Vendor List). Upon request, SunLender will vet new vendors not currently included.

The SunLender Lease and Loan programs are offered to approved Installers in Arizona, California and Hawaii. The SunLender Loan program is also currently available in Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and Washington.

If a Loan is the best way for you to go, contact your SunLender rep through this website –

Next week: We will discuss LEASES.

Residential solar benefits: Is it better to lease or take out a loan to purchase the system

While Residential Solar PV installation is increasing and on the minds of more and more homeowners, the way to finance the projects remains a hot button topic. The final decision on whether to take out a loan and purchase the system outright vs. the decision to lease a Residential Solar PV system depends on many factors. What is better for you may not be better for your neighbor and vice versa.

Renewable Asset Management Company, LLC (RAMC) and their SunLender financing program better serve residential homeowners, by providing homeowners with a solar loan and a solar lease within the same proposal, in approved states, thereby allowing the consumer to choose the financing product best suited to their needs; and providing Installers the tools and financing options to close more deals.

The primary difference between buying and leasing a Solar PV system is in ownership. If you buy a solar panel system, you own the system, either outright (if purchasing with cash) or after repaying your solar loan. You also bear the responsibility of maintaining it,  If you lease the system, a third party owns the solar panel system and it is professionally managed.

This distinction impacts the cost, maintenance, terms, financial offsets, and savings/returns on investment of your solar panel system. In addition, not all companies offer solar leases; confirm that your chosen provider offers the financing option that you want most. Note that PPAs are not legally permitted in many areas.

According to the California Solar Initiative, current trends show that, leasing accounted for 13% of the residential installed capacity in California (the largest residential solar market in the US) in 2009; it then soared to over 70% in 2012 and 2013, before declining slightly to 66% in 2014. GTM Research confirms this trend: they forecasted that 2014 would be a peak year in terms of TPO financing in the US (72% TPO share) and expect direct ownership to surpass TPO by 2025.

If the trend continues, an increasing proportion of consumers are expected to choose to own the PV systems on their roofs rather than lease such systems or buy power from third party developers. If the current residential system price trends continue, this shift in financing could be significant, with homeowner financed systems potentially dominating the financing landscape in 3-4 years.

But the choice to lease or own comes down to the situations a homeowner finds himself in, and how much ready cash is available.

The basics are these:

If the homeowner wants to maximize the financial benefits of installing a solar panel system, rather than solely benefitting from the system’s environmental benefits, there is more money to save (in the long run) if you purchase a solar system in cash. As the owner of the solar system, you are eligible to reduce your federal and state tax liability through the federal investment tax credit. Additionally, homeowners will increase the market value of their home by installing a solar panel system.

Also, when considering a loan-purchase, long-term financing is available at very affordable rates. For example, SunLender offers a spectrum of interest rates and terms that are based on the strength of homeowner’s credit. Some rates for excellent credit start as low as 1.99%.

Add to that, SunLender offers loans with no money down and no out-of-pocket expenses required.

Conversely, for homeowners that are looking for a worry-free, professionally managed solar solution, with predictable monthly payments, and/or can’t use the income tax credit, leasing may be the best choice.

A cost-saving venture from the very beginning, no out of pocket expenses are required for SunLender leases, and System production performance is monitored on a daily basis and any underperformance issues are addressed immediately.

Additionally, the SunLender lease offers low predictable payments for a 20-year term. And that rate is typically less than the typical energy consumption rate was prior to installation.  And utility rates will continue to rise, while your lease cost remains constant.

The choice is up to the homeowner, who benefits either way from installing a Solar PV system on their roof.

Next week: We will discuss LOANS.


Is it time to go solar? America thinks so

U.S. solar power demand increased by 17 percent in 2015, with rooftop power installations leading the way.

Solar power developers reported that solar installations surpassed natural gas for the first time, adding a record 7.3 gigawatts of capacity in America last year, a gain of 17 percent from 2014.

Residential installations, the fastest-growing segment, accounted for 29 percent of all photovoltaic systems and increased by climbed 66 percent, according to a report from GTM Research and the Washington-based Solar Energy Industries Association. California, North Carolina and Nevada remained the top three solar states. Utah jumped from 23rd to 7th, while New Jersey slipped to 10th from sixth.

The increased installations are clear indications of the growing demand for clean energy sources as the U.S. and other nations seek to curb greenhouse gas emissions, as well as falling prices that make solar power more competitive with gas.

Total U.S. solar installations now exceed 25 gigawatts, equal to about one-quarter of the nation’s nuclear fleet, and up from just 2 gigawatts five years ago.

And the future looks brighter for years to come. Fueling increased demand for the next few years will include the recent extension of tax credits for solar energy.

To help you with your installation and financing of residential solar panel systems, or to help Installers finance and set up systems for their customers, contact your SunLender representative today. Visit or contact Michael Thompson: Telephone:  408-766-9475; Email:

Solar is affordable

Installing solar panels is a top way to make a home more energy efficient and environmentally friendly, but setup and up-front costs can make the move unaffordable to many homeowners.

To make the change less cost prohibitive, states and companies are increasingly offering new financing arrangements.

According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, the U.S. residential solar market grew nearly 62% last year and isn’t expected to slow in 2015. The face of the solar panel owner has evolved: it’s no longer just early adopters or super-conscious environmentalists. Young homeowners and families are looking to install panel to help combat high energy prices.

The price of energy continues to go up every year and is a big part of monthly budgets. It’s crossing the pain threshold and a solar system is an easy way to go.”

Homeowners can typically save 10% to 20% of their electric bill using solar power, although the exact savings will depend on how much electricity is consumed, the efficiency of the panels and current electricity costs.

In the past, homeowners would have to front the entire cost and buy the solar panels and then rely on government tax credits and state incentives to help make the price tag more palatable. But the cost of solar panels has fallen sharply since the end of 2010, making them more affordable.

From White House Blog: Increasing Solar Access for All Americans

Last year, the United States brought online as much solar energy every three weeks as it did in all of 2008, and the solar industry added jobs 10 times faster than the rest of the economy.

And since the beginning of 2010, the average cost of a solar electric system has dropped by 50 percent. But we know that our economy is strongest when every American has the tools to get ahead. That means just as we are working to make high-quality health care and community college more available and affordable to middle-class and low-income families, we must also work to expand opportunities for families to use cleaner sources of energy that can help households save on their utility bills.

(source: White House Blog).

Click here to read more Increasing Solar Access for All Americans 

Residential Solar Financing for PV is on the Rise

Vendors, installers and end-users are looking for funding of residential solar systems, and third-party financing of solar PV has become the prevailing business model in some of the largest residential markets in the U.S.  The strategy of third-party financed residential solar installations covers more than half of new capacity in California, Arizona, Colorado and Massachusetts, with the model gaining greater market share in other states such as Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Texas, Vermont, and Washington.

This is a relatively new approach, as before 2010, there were few residential third-party ownership (TPO) vendors. Today, a number of TPO options are in operation, and each TPO company has a unique business model; some have an in-house solar renewable energy credit (SREC) trading business, while others offer energy management services such as energy audits in addition to solar installations.

SunLender’s provider, RAMCO is the only financial service provider in the residential solar market that possesses decades of vertically integrated financial experience. Their expertise in the building trades and specifically the residential solar industry is unparalleled.

RAMCO and its principals have been providing lending products and services to the building trades for over 40 years through their partner, Financial Management Services Inc. (FMSI) and its system includes a “Rooftops Rule” proprietary solar proposal platform that enables installers to present professional proposals to residential customers. The proposal offers several financing options as prospective customers are able to visually see the benefit of their solar investment.

Unlike most other solar finance providers, RAMCO does not outsource the credit, funding and servicing functions.  RAMCO utilizes vertical integration to provide the installer and customers with a one-stop complete customer service experience.

For more information, contact your SunLender representative: Michael Thompson 408-766-9475 — Email: Or visit the RAMCO website:

Solar Industry Grows: New PV system installed every four minutes

Some recent solar industry factoids show that the solar power industry is growing, prices are coming down and the pace is quickening.

A solar PV system is now installed every four minutes

According to recent research, the US is now installing one photovoltaic system every four minutes. If the market continues to grow at this pace, by 2016 there will be a solar energy system installed every 20 seconds. This is huge growth since 2006, when one was installed every 80 minutes.

Nearly three-quarters of all solar capacity worldwide was installed since January 2011. It’s even more impressive because, the preceding four decades only saw 50 gigawatts of solar power installed worldwide, according to recent studies. The surveys show solar energy employment in the US has increased by 20%

US solar industry has grown 53%

According to Washington DC-based nonprofit research organization, The Solar Foundation, the US solar industry has grown 53% in the last four years, adding nearly 50,000 jobs. Currently, there are more than 143,000 people employed by the solar industry today.

Prices of solar panels have decreased by 60%

According to Rhone Resch, the president and chief executive of the Solar Energy Industries Association, the prices of solar panels have decreased 60% since 2012. “We’ve been on a cost decline over the last four or five years”

New lease agreements that are available in some states have also increased the demand for solar panels. Under these deals, a homeowner doesn’t have to pay any money upfront and essentially leases the equipment for 20 years. The homeowner isn’t on tap for the costs of any repairs and maintenance of the panels, but is locked into a long term agreement.

According to Resch the typical escalation rate on solar energy is 1% per year compared to the 5% to 7% increase electric companies pass on to customers each year.