Westinghouse Solar secures $100 million financing for solar loan program

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Westinghouse Solar, a subsidiary of diversified clean energy company and solar provider CBD Energy Limited, has secured financing of up to $100 million for its residential solar loan program.

Offering a solar financing solution that is underwritten, serviced and owned by an undisclosed third party, Westinghouse Solar hopes to build upon the solid traction it has so far enjoyed in the U.S. residential solar market.

Customers eager to install a residential PV system can apply to Westinghouse Solar for a loan with competitive interest rates, with a view to owning their own solar system. The loan lowers the upfront cost for customers, and the $100 million will be steered towards ensuring Westinghouse Solar can deliver its products at a competitive rate.

"We continue to report solar traction in our U.S. growth strategy and this arrangement with an established finance provider will allow our Westinghouse Solar customers to install and own their own system," said Gerry McGowan, CBD’s executive chairman. "Customers can enjoy the benefits of a solar array with no upfront cash outlay and the savings in power costs will more than cover their monthly repayment.

"We believe this product will provide the company with significant sales and growth opportunities. Upon loan approval, CBD will receive up to 50% of the sales price of a system with the balance paid on installation, which will greatly improve our working capital position."

Westinghouse Solar recently established a presence in Massachusetts – a U.S. state that has begun to markedly ramp up its solar ambitions and scale of installations – and, according to the company’s SVP James Greer, the response has been positive. "We believe the residential solar business has the potential to experience significant growth as we look to build our footprint in the U.S. into 2015,” he said.

"The availability of up to $100 million in financing will ensure that Westinghouse Solar can deliver our products to our customers on a competitive basis."

Westinghouse Solar’s 50% system loan, based on a case-by-case assessment of each individual applicant, is a pretty standard payment option for the U.S. Last month, Dividend Solar unveiled a similar payment structure, offering interest rates starting from 6.5% and the option for customers to claim a federal tax credit of 30%.

The sector of the solar industry has been a hotbed of innovation and smart forward-thinking over the past 18 months, with companies ranging from small startups (such as Mosaic) to established solar giants (SunPower, for example) devising a suite of options designed to make it easier for U.S. homeowners to begin generating their own solar power.