Since 2008, the solar industry in Massachusetts has grown into a robust economic sector with hundreds of businesses and thousands of projects installed across the Commonwealth. With the goal to continue expansion of the solar market to 1600 MW by 2020, the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) expects the solar market to continue to grow, including thousands of residential installations each year.
Residential solar installations offer homeowners with an opportunity to directly engage in the solar market and realize energy and costs savings. Locally owned and financed solar projects, in comparison with 3rd party owned installations, provide substantially greater economic value to the homeowner and the local economy. As demonstrated by a 2013 DOER study , homeowners and the Commonwealth can realize greater financial benefits from directly owning the solar systems, in comparison with third-party ownership or leasing opportunities. To this end, in March 2014 DOER announced that it has committed $30 million of RPS Alternative Compliance Payment funds to establish a Residential Solar Loan Program. The program will use credit enhancement to encourage solar lending, and thereby
- facilitate homeowners' access to attractive solar loans
- provide new business opportunities for our local lending institutions.
DOER seeks to enable cash-flow positive loans, and to provide sufficient risk mitigation to enhance lenders comfort in offering loans to homeowners over a wider range of wealth and credit qualifications.
Updated Final Program Design
In January 2015 DOER announced its partnership with the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC), as the program central administrator. Over the course of spring 2015, DOER worked with the MassCEC to procure and contract with four vendors to build the program portal, recruit lenders, verify the income of moderate income customers, and provide technical review. During the summer of 2015, DOER released program documents for stakeholder comment and incorporated feedback.
Towards the end of summer 2015, DOER finalized program documents and updated the final program design; all documents can be found on the program website: www.masssolarloan.com. Over the course of Fall 2015, the Mass Solar Loan program is expected to secure lender agreements and launch.
The final program design can be found here .
Final Program Design
On January 6, 2015, the final design of a $30 million residential solar loan program was announced to complement the nation-leading solar market in Massachusetts. This program, designed to make it easier for homeowners to finance solar electric projects on their homes, will work with banks and credit unions to expand borrowing options through lower interest rate loans and encourage loans for homeowners with lower income or lower credit scores.
The final program design presentation is available online .
Revised Program Design
In conjunction with its consultant The Cadmus Group and the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, DOER worked to incorporate feedback to develop a revised program design and, on October 16th 2014,solicited written feedback. DOER solicited comments from all stakeholders engaged in the Residential Solar Loan program draft process. The comment period was open until 5:00PM on Thursday October 23rd.
The revised program design presentation is available online .
DOER received written comments that were reviewed and are available online .
The list of lenders who contributed feedback during the stakeholder process and lender working group is available online .
Secondary Program Design
On August 20th, DOER presented a secondary draft design of the residential solar loan program to its lender working group. The group consisted of banks, credit unions, and solar developers who had attended DOER’s initial stakeholder meetings and expressed interest in providing further insight on the financial aspects of the program design. DOER presented a secondary program design to lender working group participants at the August 20th meeting. DOER received verbal comments and hopes to receive additional written comments on the secondary loan program design. The comment period was open until 5:00pm on Thursday August 28th. Comments were provided to Emma Krause at email@example.com.
PLEASE NOTE: DOER added a slide to the secondary program design based on the Lender Working Groups feedback and asked for comments on this slide in addition to the rest of the presentation.
The secondary loan program design as presented at the Lender Working Group Meeting is available here .
DOER received both verbal and written comments on the secondary program design which are available here .
Preliminary Program Design
During the week of June 30, DOER conducted a series of stakeholder meetings with the solar market as well as banks, credit unions and other relevant entities to review and receive feedback on the preliminary loan program design. Meetings were conducted in the Eastern, Central, and Western part of the state and comments were gathered through Tuesday July 15, 2014. DOER received both verbal and written comments on the preliminary loan program design. These comments are available here .
The preliminary loan program design as presented at the Stakeholder Meetings is available here .
Click here for the press release.