SunPower launches solar loan arm to help affordable homes

SunPower launches solar loan arm to help affordable homes

Dec 8, Reuters -- Residential solar company SunPower Corp said on Wednesday it would launch a new financial services division aimed at making rooftop panels affordable for more U.S. homeowners.

SunPower Financial, a financing arm, is part of a commitment made by the company in September to expand access to residential solar for low-income Americans and push back on the perception that it is a luxury for the rich.

The pledge is aligned with the Biden administration initiative to direct clean energy investments to disadvantaged communities.

SunPower Financial will offer interest-free loans, higher credit limits and expanded loan eligibility to borrowers with lower credit scores, the company said. It will also be able to offer products for shared roofs, mobile homes and more.

Solar home loan companies have worked with banks to offer loans and leases with no upfront costs and monthly payments that can be lower than for electric utilities, and home solar has grown rapidly in recent years and is projected to expand 21% this year.

Residential solar companies have an opportunity to win new customers, as there is fewer than 5% of U.S. homes with panels installed.

SunPower Chief Executive Officer Peter Faricy said in an interview at the Reuters Events Energy Transition North America conference that many consumers don't think they can afford solar or wouldn't qualify for financing.

Faricy said that people can't afford solar power because of the perception that people can't afford it. This is very affordable for people with different credit scores and different income levels. SunPower said that the company's products aren't limited by terms required by other financial providers because it will be offering the financing in-house.

It is not a very risky loan or lease, Faricy said, noting that default rates on solar loans and leases are extremely low.