When people buy a new car, they often need help paying for it, so they borrow money from a third-party lender who’s repaid over time.
In many states, it’s possible to finance a rooftop solar installation in the same way.
“Most people don’t have $15,000 or $30,000 laying around that they can use to go solar, and so third-party financing provides a way for them to be able to get involved in the clean energy movement, to purchase solar panels on the roof, without making the outright purchase,” says Tim Lindl, a partner at the law firm Keyes and Fox.
But Lindl says some states — such as Wisconsin — lack policies that explicitly allow third-party solar financing.
His firm recently helped one Wisconsin family petition the state’s public service commission for permission to install a third-party-owned solar array and connect it to the grid.
The effort was successful, but it was an arduous legal process that not everyone can undertake.
So Lindl says Wisconsin should create policies that enable residential third-party solar financing so more people have easy ways to pay for solar panels on their homes.
“If you don’t get clarity on third-party financing, there are some people that are going to be able to go solar … but there’s lots of people that are going to be left behind,” Lindl says.
Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy/ChavoBart Digital Media