So long, Mass Solar Loan. It was fun while it lasted.
This state-sponsored program, which makes solar accessible to more Massachusetts homeowners, including those with low credit scores and low income levels, has been hugely successful. So successful, in fact, that more than 70% of the available funds* had been used as of January 19, according to an email we received directly from the Mass Solar Loan office. That in just over a year since the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (CEC) rolled out the MSL in December 2015.
The email suggested funds might run out mid-year, if sign-ups continue at the current pace. But have you ever seen the gold rush mentality or feeding frenzy (pick your analogy) that ensues when people know a good deal is about to end? Based on that, we humbly estimate the funds might run out sometime this spring. In other words….soon.
There is still time to get your Mass Solar Loan. But the process does take some time (it is a state-run program, after all). Contact us soon if you want a piece of the action.
Why is the MSL so successful? Because it was designed with a bunch of neat features, including these:
- Probably the most important factor is the low interest rates. Currently, virtually any Massachusetts homeowner installing solar can obtain a MSL at about 4% for 10 years. That’s slightly higher than home equity lines of credit but without the lien on your home. (Some of the banks do put a lien on the solar panels and inverters.)
- Most people qualify for the MSL regardless of credit score. Yes, you read that right. Because the state is absorbing the risk of default, the banks will loan to nearly any homeowner. If you’ve been turned down for a bank or solar loan before, you should still try the MSL.
- If your income is low, the state will pay 20% or 30% of the loan principal for you, up to $10,000. (And don’t forget you get a federal tax credit worth 30% of your solar system’s price.)
- The borrower has the ability to pay interest-only for the first year. This means you make smaller payments while your solar system is being built and while you wait for your Solar Renewable Energy Certificate (SREC) checks to start arriving. (Note: SREC’s are also ending for new customers in the near future; watch for an upcoming article about that.)
- The loans are provided by banks and credit unions you know, including possibly your own. New England Clean Energy partners with Avidia Bank of Hudson and Bluewave of Boston for the MSL. And with us, you can apply online — no inconvenient trip to the bank.
Like I said, there is still time to apply for the MSL and get your solar under this generous state-funded program. So put your tax dollars to work for you. Fill out our webform or call us today to get started.
* This refers to the Interest Rate Buy Down (IRBD) portion of MSL funds, which is what subsidizes the low-interest rate. The Mass Solar Loan dashboard shows the IRBD plus two other buckets of money. The others are for creditor protection against loan defaults, and for state contributions to solar loans for low-income households. But the IRBD bucket is the main one.
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