Have you heard of the HERO Program? Our California team got wind of it for the first time about ten months ago when cities in the Northern California region were rapidly becoming available. We quickly became a HERO Registered Contractor to begin to take advantage of it's financing in our local installation areas. What is HERO? HERO is a government-sponsored program which enables a homeowner to finance home improvements related to efficiency and green products. HERO provides low fixed-interest rates and payment terms up to 20 years that are then paid back through property taxes.
We've been installing HERO financed solar projects in northern California for the last eight months. What do we know so far? So far, so good! Our clients love the simplicity of the program. We see it killing off the most popular option for financing a solar project, the solar lease. A Solar Lease can be an option for homeowners who want to see a smaller monthly energy rate, the drawbacks are that the homeowner cannot take advantage of the 30% federal tax credit... they won't own the system and the lease is tied to the homeowners personal credit. If the home is sold there is a transfer necessary and terms vary depending on the leasing company.
I think that where HERO destroys the solar lease is in the sales cycle. Payment plans are familiar and recognizable, it's a traditional loan term. The difference is that the HERO loan term is paid back through the homeowners property taxes, keeping the homeowners personal credit and lending liability out of the financing equation. The house is getting the financing in this process, so the homeowner's credit score is not a requirement. If the homeowner wants to drop their PG&E bill down to $0, we will install a solar system big enough to replace it entirely. Replacing their PG&E bill with slightly higher property tax payments lowers their monthly home expenses. Not only these tax payments much less than sticking with the utility, but they are fixed for the loan term. Financing solar energy with HERO shields a homeowner from inflation and rate hikes that the utility company promises them otherwise. In a typical consultation, once HERO is explained to a client, I can see the interest almost immediately. "Sounds awesome! So what do I need to do next?" is what they usually ask me. It's really a no brainer, and if you can't purchase your solar system cash it might be your best financing option. Whatever you do, don't lease your solar system until you check HERO or your local PACE program out.
5 benefits when going solar through HERO
- $0 due upfront - There was nothing the homeowners had to pay out of pocket .
- Save on electricity - Offsetting the utility bill with solar energy adds up to huge savings over the life of the system.
- Increased home value- Solar systems have great system resale value. Giving a huge advantage when they sell their house since the system is OWNED not LEASED.
- Get the tax credit - 30% tax credit available until 2016. 30% of the system cost can be used to pay down the loan balance. You only get these available credits and rebates when you purchase your system.
- Performance warranty - 10 year workmanship warranty and 25 year performance warranty with solar modules.
With HERO now available in Concord, CA we will be pushing a canvassing program to notify homeowners about this opportunity and conduct site evaluations for homeowners. HERO actually stands for home energy renovation opportunity. In Concord, CA your electric bill must be at least $70 a month to benefit from the "no money down" using HERO. Meaning if you average $70 per month with PG&E, you can utilize the tax credits and first years savings so that the HERO program doesn't cost you a dime out of pocket. If you're paying over $150 a month then it gets even easier; give us a call right now.
Find this article interesting? We're on target to install over 200 residential solar systems in Concord, CA in the year 2015 and you should be one of them! Don't live in Concord? Check to see if HERO is in your city by contacting us today.