Solar Energy Loans

Solar Energy Loans

solar-panelsColumbia Water & Light offers electric customers low-interest loans for photovoltaic systems and solar water heaters. We also have rebates for both photovoltaic systems and solar water heaters.

Basic Terms

The limit on the Solar Energy Loan is $15,000 for residential and $30,000 for commercial customers. There are no pre-payment penalties. You can select your terms and interest rate by determining the length of your loan.

  • Up to 3 years: 1%
  • 4 to 5 years: 3%
  • 6 to 10 years: 5%

Participation Steps

Download a copy of our Solar Energy Loan application to review the participation steps. You can fill out the form on your computer but you must submit a signed printed copy.

Requirements

General Requirements
  • Loans are for Columbia Water & Light electric customers
  • Property owner*
  • Deed of Trust required
  • Owners of the property must have a good payment history with the utility and must be current with property tax statements.
  • The parameters for the photovoltaic net metering agreement/rebate or the solar water heater rebate must be followed.
  • All residential customers must meet the minimum insulation requirements to meet current building codes: attic insulation: R-49 required
    • floor insulation over unconditioned space: R-19 required
    • crawl space walls OR floors above crawl space: R-10 required with vapor barrier covering the ground (only one of these items is required)
    • duct insulation: R-13 required in unheated areas
    • rim joist insulation: R-13 required
  • For homes built over 10 years ago (from the day you submit your Net Metering Agreement application), the customer must have a Building Assessment completed by one of our Certified Home Performance Contractors within the last 10 years.
  • Commercial customers’ structures must submit engineering stamped drawings of the building that will be reviewed by Columbia Water & Light and Building & Site Development’s staff. The review will include ways to accomplish additional energy efficiency potential, comply with code and maintain structural integrity.

*A customer who owns a multi-family residential dwelling or leases a commercial building can contact Columbia Water & Light to see if the building would qualify for a solar energy loan.

Additional Requirements for Photovoltaic Systems
  • Interconnection Standards – the PV system should comply with the following standards:
    • National Electric Code (NEC) including but not limited to, NEC Articles 690 (Guidelines outlining the installation of the system including structural and electrical components) and NEC 705 (regarding the safety and warning signs of the system).
    • Underwriters Laboratories (UL) including but not limited to, UL 1741 (Standard for Static Inverters and Charge Controllers for Use in Photovoltaic Systems), and UL 1703 (Standard for Safety: Flat­ Plate Photovoltaic Modules and Panels).
    • Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Standards including, but not limited to 1547­2003 (Standard for Interconnecting Intellect Systems).
  • The solar modules and inverter must be new and listed as eligible solar energy equipment on the California Energy Commission’s Go Solar website.
  • An Interconnection & Net Metering agreement, the appropriate system information page and the site diagram must be submitted and approved by Columbia Water & Light. The utility reserves the right to reject a PV system if it does not meet the parameters of the net metering or rebate program.
  • Photovoltaic panels must come with a 25-year or greater manufacturer’s warranty. All grid-tie, sine-wave inverters must come with a minimum 10-year manufacturer’s warranty.
  • Columbia Water & Light will inspect the installed equipment to make sure it meets all the program’s guidelines before the loan/rebate is finalized.
  • Paid receipts for the system and a copy of the final electrical code permit must be submitted at your final loan/rebate inspection. The receipt must list the model numbers for the installed equipment. A copy of the insurance certificate is required for systems rated over 10 kilowatts.
  • Copies of the receipts and the final code inspection must be submitted to Columbia Water & Light within six months of the solar electric system’s installation. If there is incomplete or incorrect information submitted customers will have thirty days to provide the correct information or risk losing their place in the loan/rebate funding process.
Additional Requirements for Solar Water Heaters
  • Solar water heaters that provide at least 50% of water heating costs are eligible. Solar systems must utilize an active solar heat collector.
  • All solar heating projects must be permitted and approved by the Building and Site Development division of the Community Development Department.
  • Rebates must be applied for in advance of the solar water heater installation and must receive written approval from Columbia Water & Light to receive a rebate.
  • Pool solar water heaters are not eligible.
  • Columbia Water & Light will inspect the installed equipment to make sure it meets all the program’s guidelines before the loan/rebate is finalized.
  • Paid receipts for the system and a copy of the final electrical code permit must be submitted at your final loan/rebate inspection. The receipt must list the model numbers for the installed equipment.
  • All systems must be OG 300 certified by the SRCC.

Subordination

Solar Energy Loans do not subordinate to other loans you have on your property. If you refinance your current home loan or sell your house, you will be required to pay off the Solar Energy Loan. Requesting subordination of your Solar Energy Loan generally takes at least two months. If you are refinancing your mortgage for a lower interest rate, shorter loan term, in order to maintain ownership of the home or borrow more money for an improvement project, you could be eligible for subordination. Please contact us (info@columbiapowerpartners.com or 573-874-7325) if you have any questions about subordination.