Milwaukee Shines Solar Financing Aims to Help Residents Add Solar
Solar install training with Midwest Renewable Energy Association, Housing Authority of City of Milwaukee and Milwaukee Community Service Corp.
The Milwaukee Shines Solar Financing program, part of the city’s new solar initiative, offers Milwaukee city residents a new option for financing a home solar installation. Milwaukee Shines has partnered with Summit Credit Union to offer low-interest solar loans for city homeowners, with a $1,000 incentive for the first 20 participants in the program. Summit Credit Union will leverage donated funds to make a total of $2 million in solar loans available.
A survey of solar installers found that one barrier to residential solar installations is finding viable financing options. “We have seen the number of solar installations increase over the past two years since our solar program began, but financing the installation can still be a challenge for homeowners,” notes Amy Heart, the city of Milwaukee’s solar program manager. “This is an exciting project that provides necessary financing solutions for city residents who want to add solar to their homes.”
The Milwaukee Shines Solar Financing program was developed with the goals of increasing solar installations on Milwaukee homes, while demonstrating that solar energy is a stable and viable investment for private financial institutions. “It is our hope that this unique program not only provides immediate financial support to residents, but also helps to spur a long-term change in how our local lenders view investing in renewable energy development in southeast Wisconsin,” said Heart.
“It is important to promote solar projects whenever we can, to help our environment and reduce our reliance on foreign fossil fuels,” comments Tony Zielinski, 14th district alderman on the Milwaukee Common Council and sponsor of the Milwaukee Shines Solar Financing resolution, which passed Common Council unanimously.
A project of the city of Milwaukee’s Office of Environmental Sustainability, Milwaukee Shines is funded through donations and a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) grant. In 2008, the DOE named Milwaukee a Solar America City. The grant award helps to increase solar investment though installations, education, outreach and solar supply chain initiatives.
Milwaukee Shines Solar Financing at a Glance
Milwaukee Shines Solar Loan
- Eligible participants: Owner-occupied residential homes (one to three units) within the city of Milwaukee
- Loan Size: Up to $20,000
- Term: Up to 15 years
- Interest rate: Low interest rates, ranging from prime-plus-1.5 percent to prime-plus-2.25 percent
- Eligible installations: Solar electric (up to 6kW) and solar hot water (one to eight panels) installations
Milwaukee Shines Solar Incentive
- First 20 participants in the solar loan program get a solar cash-back reward
- Amount: $1,000 per approved solar installation