SunPower, a residential solar provider, announced on Wednesday the establishment of a new financial services segment aimed at making rooftop solar panels more affordable to more Americans.
SunPower Financial, the company's own financing arm, is part of a commitment made in September to extend access to home solar for low-income Americans and dispel the myth that it is a luxury for the wealthy.
The company's commitment is in line with a Biden administration strategy to target sustainable energy investments in underserved areas.
Borrowers with lower credit scores will be eligible for interest-free loans, increased credit limits, and wider loan eligibility, according to SunPower Financial. It will also sell products for shared roofs, mobile houses, and other types of housing.
Home solar has exploded in popularity in recent years, with sales expected to increase by 21% this year, thanks in part to solar businesses' collaboration with lenders to offer loans and leases with no upfront fees and monthly payments that are often lower than electric utility bills.
However, just about 5% of American homes have solar panels installed, giving a significant opportunity for residential solar companies to gain new consumers.
SunPower Chief Executive Officer Peter Faricy said in an interview that research has indicated that many consumers still believe they can't afford solar or wouldn't qualify for financing.
Faricy Explained, "this Perception that People Can't Afford Solar Is Really an Awareness Problem," "the Facts Are Going to Bear out That This Is Very Affordable for People at Different (credit) Scores and Different Income Levels."
SunPower's products aren't bound by conditions imposed by other financial providers because it will be providing the financing in-house, according to the business.
"It's actually not a very risky loan or lease," Faricy added, citing "extremely low." default rates on solar loans and leases.