US: Astrum Solar partners with Hudson Clean Energy for solar loan

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The growth of solar loans in the U.S. continues, with Astrum Solar the latest entrant into the market. Astrum is currently active in 14 states, and Hudson VP Wilson Chang said that residential solar loans "will only grow more popular over time."

Astrum and Hudson Clean Energy, with whom Astrum is partnering on the product, report that the loan is for a 20-year period. There are a number of solar loans on the market with a 20 to 30 year lifespan, often at interest rates between 5% and 10%.

The Simple Solar Loan will require no down payment from the homeowner and will deliver immediate savings on power bills – the companies report. There are no prepayment penalties and 12 to 18 month financing to cover the Investment Tax Credit (ITC).

One distinct advantage of solar loans over leases is that the homeowner retains the ITC, while with a solar lease they return to the leasing company.

Solar loans are becoming increasingly common the U.S. residential solar market with companies such as Mosaic, Admirals Bank, Westinghouse Solar and PV module makers such as SunPower, ReneSola and Canadian Solar all offering loan products. Leading leasing firm SolarCity also introduced its solar loan earlier this year.

"When it comes to solar financing, simplicity is key. Unlike other options, this program doesn’t involve any complex power price calculations, hidden clauses, or complicated financial engineering. Instead, homeowners can count on one fixed, affordable payment each month," said Jose Ramos, Astrum’s Chief Marketing Officer. "Adding the Simple Solar Loan Program to our portfolio of financing options empowers our customers to invest in solar while investing in their homes."

The December 2014 edition of pv magazine features an article on the growing solar loan market and the impact it is having on solar leases.