Solar panel loans help homeowners fund this important investment with fixed interest rates and a monthly payment that will never change. Find out which loans for solar panels we can recommend and how to secure the solar panel financing you need.
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With the average cost of solar panels (after tax credits) reaching about $20,498 nationwide, finding the right solar financing options is well worth your time. Fortunately, several solar financing companies offer excellent unsecured loans with competitive interest rates and flexible repayment plans. Our team of financial experts reviewed and ranked more than 30 online lenders to help you get funded, so read on to learn which loans for solar systems we recommend.
Because personal loans can have a big impact on your finances, it’s important to spend a little time reviewing your options to make sure you’re not overpaying. Also, it’s usually worth comparing your rates across multiple lenders to ensure you’re getting the best deal for your credit history and financial situation.
Our team of financial experts ranked lenders based on our ratings methodology for personal loans and found the best emergency loans on the market. This ratings methodology evaluates lenders based on loan length, APR, repayment terms, user experience, customer service, credit score history, banking and credit union use, and additional features.
Best Solar Panel Loans for 2023 - Full Overview
The lender reviews below can help you determine which solar power loans you may be able to qualify for, their basic rates and terms, and how to apply.
LightStream earns incredibly high marks as a solar loan lender due to their highly competitive interest rates, their flexible loan terms, and the considerable loan amounts they offer. This lender lets borrowers apply entirely online and from the comfort of their homes, and they can check their rate without any impact to their credit scores. LightStream also offers one of the longest repayment options possible on solar loans, which can help you secure the lowest possible monthly payment.
LightStream solar panel loans fall under the scope of their home improvement loans. These loans let you borrow anywhere from $5,000 to $100,000, and repayment options are offered from 36 to 240 months. Interest rates range from 3.49% to 19.99% with auto-pay, and these loans come with no origination fees or hidden fees. Generally speaking, consumers who turn to LightStream for solar panel funding will need a minimum credit score of 660.
LightStream offers competitive unsecured loans consumers can use for solar panels and other home improvements. They also offer one of the best auto-pay discounts of all available lenders, which can help you save .50% off your rate.
SoFi offers a variety of financial products, ranging from an investing app to online banking and student loans. They also offer unsecured personal loans that can be used for solar financing, home improvements, or debt consolidation. We chose them as the best option for solar panels with no fees since SoFi doesn't charge origination fees, prepayment penalties, or any hidden fees.
While solar panels will likely cost you less than SoFi's borrowing limits, this lender does let qualified applicants borrow anywhere from $5,000 to $100,000 for their home improvement projects. Interest rates rate from 6.49% to 21.78% with an auto-pay discount applied, and borrowers can choose repayment plans that last between 24 and 84 months. The best part? SoFi personal loans come with no origination fees, no application fees, and no hidden fees of any kind.
Consider SoFi for solar financing if you want to borrow a large loan amount with no hidden fees. You may be able to borrow up to $100,000 from this lender, which you can use for solar panel installation and other home improvement projects you hope to complete.
Credible is unique among other companies in our ranking since they are a loan comparison site and not a direct lender. This means you can use the Credible platform to compare rates and loan offers across multiple lenders in one place. Not only can this save you time as you shop for solar financing, but it can help you ensure you're getting the best loan for your needs.
Credible lets you compare rates and loan terms across multiple lenders, and interest rates can fall between 3.49% and 35.99% with auto-pay discounts applied. Loan options are available for borrowers with any credit profile, although repayment plans and qualification requirements vary widely. There are no hidden fees to use Credible to compare loan offers, yet individual lenders may charge their own set of fees.
Consider shopping for solar system loans with Credible if you want to compare multiple loan offers in one place. This platform can help you see how rates and terms vary across several providers, which can save you both time and money in the end.
Rocket Loans is one of the largest mortgage originators in the United States, so it's only natural to think of them when you're seeking out a home improvement loan. That said, Rocket Loans offers more than mortgages — they also offer unsecured personal loans that are perfect for financing solar panels. Borrowers can even check their rates without affecting their credit scores.
Rocket Loans offers solar financing in amounts up to $45,000, and borrowers can repay their loan amount over 36 or 60 months. Interest rates range from 5.970% to 29.99%, although the lowest advertised rates include an auto-pay discount. Rocket Loans also charges an origination fee that tacks on an additional 1% to 6% of the loan amount. While this lender does not list a minimum credit score requirement, their personal loans are most likely available to consumers with fair credit.
Consider Rocket Loans if you want to borrow up to $45,000 for solar panel installation and repay your loan over 36 or 60 months sounds ideal. You can even check your rate without any impact on your credit score.
We chose BestEgg for this ranking based on their excellent reviews from past users, which include an average star rating of 4.6 out of 5 stars across more than 6,500 reviews on Trustpilot and an average rating of 4.88 out of 5 stars across more than 2,000 reviews with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Considering the qualify of testimonials from their customers, this lender is a good option when you need solar panel financing or you want to refinance a solar loan you already have.
BestEgg offers personal loans in amounts from $2,000 to $50,000, which makes them perfect for solar panel financing. Borrowers can repay their loan amounts over 36 or 60 months, and interest rates range from 5.99% to 35.99% with auto-pay discounts applied. Also be aware that an origination fee of 0.99% to 5.99% applies to all types of loans from BestEgg. The minimum credit score required to work with Best Egg is 550.
Consider BestEgg if you want to borrow from a company that has a long history of satisfied customers. You can check your rate without a hard inquiry, and BestEgg offers loan amounts up to $50,000.
Upgrade offers personal loans and solar panel financing that can work well for borrowers with credit scores as low as 580. This makes them a solid option to consider if you have fair credit, especially since you can check your rate online and gauge your approval odds with no impact to your score. Upgrade also offers large loan amounts and several flexible repayment options to choose from.
Loans from Upgrade are offered in amounts from $1,000 to $50,000, and borrowers can repay their loans over 24 to 84 months. Interest rates can range from 5.94% to 35.97% APR based on creditworthiness. Also be aware that an origination fee of 2.9% to 8% applies to each loan amount.
Consider Upgrade for your funding needs if you have fair credit that prevents you from getting approved elsewhere. Since this company lets you check your rate, you can even get an idea of your approval odds before you fill out a full loan application.
If you have bad credit, or a credit score below 580, NetCredit may be willing to loan you the money you need for solar panels. That said, loan amounts are on the low end and interest rates tend to be high. Fortunately, you can check your rate with NetCredit before you apply.
Loan features for NetCredit loans can vary by state. In Delaware, for example, borrowers can access $500 to $10,000 in funding and repay their loan over six to 60 months with an APR of 34% to 155%. In Texas, on the other hand, approved applicants can borrow up to $10,000 maximum for 12 to 60 months, and their interest rates range from 34.99% to 99.99%. Loans from NetCredit don't have any origination fees or hidden fees.
NetCredit offers loans to borrowers whose credit scores may prevent them from accessing other types of funding. Consider this lender if you need solar financing now and you cannot wait for your credit score to improve.
As you search for the best way to fund solar panel installation, you should spend some time comparing lenders based on criteria that will impact your borrowing costs and lender experience. Our experts studied and compared the following factors for each of the companies that made our ranking.
Loan features: Look for solar financing companies that offer loan amounts that fit with your project, as well as flexible repayment options that can suit your budget and your needs.
Interest rates and fees: Compare solar loan interest rates across multiple lenders, and look for a loan company that charges minimal fees or no fees.
Application process: Make sure you select a solar financing company that lets you get prequalified without any impact to your credit. Also look for providers who let you complete your loan application online.
Qualification process: Have a general idea of the loan requirements for lenders you're considering, which may include a minimum credit score, a minimum income, or a maximum debt-to-income ratio.
Customer support: Look for solar loan providers who list multiple ways to contact them online, which can include phone support, email customer service, and an online chat function.
Online user reviews: Compare reviews from previous customers on websites like Trustpilot and the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
Perks and Bonuses: Finally, check to see if any lenders offer auto-pay discounts, refer-a-friend programs, or additional perks.
Best Solar Panel Loans — Main Features Table
Minimum Credit Score
3.49% to 19.99% APR with auto-pay
$5,000 to $100,000
36 to 240 months
5.970% to 29.99% APR with auto-pay
Up to $45,000
36 or 60 months
6.99% to 21.78% APR with auto-pay
$5,000 to $100,000
24 to 84 months
3.49% to 35.99% with auto-pay
$600 to $100,000
5.99% to 35.99% APR
$2,000 to $50,000
36 or 60 months
5.94% to 35.97% APR
$1,000 to $50,000
24 to 84 months
Varies by state
Up to $10,000
12 to 60 months
What is a Solar Panel Loan?
A solar panel loan is an unsecured personal loan that lets homeowners access the cash they need for this environmentally-friendly investment. These loans come with fixed interest rates, fixed monthly payments, and fixed repayment plans that never change. Many solar panel loans also come with no origination fees, no prepayment penalties, and no hidden fees.
How Much Do Solar Panels Cost?
According to a recent study from Energy Sage, solar panels cost about $20,498 on average when you take into account a cost of $2.77/W for a 10 kW system and the 26% federal solar tax credit that's currently available through the end of 2022.
According to the data:
Solar panel installation set consumers back anywhere from $17,538 to $23,458 on average last year (taking the federal tax credit into account).
The cost of solar panels may be high, but prices for installation and equipment have actually fallen by 13% over the last five years.
Several important factors can impact the cost of installing and maintaining solar panels, including the size of your home, the size of the solar system being installed, the characteristics of your roof, and local costs for energy and labor. Meanwhile, the state you live in also plays a significant role in how much you'll pay for solar panel installation.
States with the lowest costs for solar power installation:
Average Cost for a 6 KW System
States with the highest costs for solar power installation:
Average Cost for a 6 KW System
How Much Money Do You Save With Solar Panels?
While solar panels require an upfront investment of money, they can pay for themselves in long-term energy savings if given enough time. When it comes to how much you'll save by installing a solar system on your roof, this depends on factors such as:
Size of your roof
Angle of your roof
Number of hours of direct daily sunlight
Local electricity rates
Another factor that comes into play is federal tax credits, which can ebb and flow over time.
That said, you can easily find recent data that estimates how much homeowners are currently saving with their solar panel systems. Per recent analysis from EnergySage, the following states show the average 20-year savings for installing a home solar system:
20-year Savings for Solar Installation
Solar Panel Tax Benefits
According to the U.S. Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Congress passed an extension of the Solar Investment Tax Credit (ITC) in December of 2020. This extension allows homeowners to receive a 26% tax credit for solar systems installed through the end of 2022. However, the ITC credit drops to 22% for systems installed in 2023, and the credit will expire in 2024 if Congress does not take steps to renew it.
Also note that several states offer their own tax credits for solar system installation, which you can compare on the NC State University website. For example, the state of Minnesota offers a solar energy sales tax exemption, property tax incentives, and solar rebate programs that vary by geographic region.
Leasing vs. Buying Solar Panels — Which Is Better?
Generally speaking, buying your own solar panel system will lead to greater energy savings over time. This is partly due to the greater return-on-investment (ROI) you'll receive when you own your own system and avoid lease payments, but it's also due to the fact you can take advantage of federal and state tax credits that apply.
That said, leasing a solar system can make sense for homeowners who don't want to deal with maintenance or repairs required for a solar panel system, as well as those who don't have the cash to invest in a system upfront.
How to Get a Solar Panel Loan?
Applying for solar system financing can look differently depending on where you live, how much you need to borrow, and the solar panel financing company you choose to use. However, the following steps provide a general idea of what is required.
Step 1: Get a quote for a solar system for your home, then look for solar financing companies that offer loan amounts that can suit your needs.
Step 2: Compare lenders online to look for companies that offer flexible repayment options, competitive rates, and monthly payments you can afford.
Step 3: Check your rate online with at least three solar financing companies.
Step 4: Compare loan offers available to you and see how they stack up in terms of their rates, terms, and monthly payment requirements.
Step 5: Look at loan offers to check for hidden fees, including origination fees and application fees.
Step 6: Decide on a solar financing company and fill out the loan application with your personal details, Social Security number, employment information, income, and more.
Step 7: Wait to see if your loan application is approved, which could take place within hours or a few business days.
Step 8: Watch your bank account to see when your funding shows up, and confirm the amount you borrowed is correct.
Step 9: Use the funds to pay for your new solar system, then begin repaying your solar panel loan based on the terms you agreed to upfront.
Other Types of Solar Panel Financing
If you're in the market for a solar panel loan, you should know that there are more financing options to consider outside of personal loans. Consider the alternative options to fund your solar energy project.
0% APR credit cards: Some credit cards offer 0% APR on purchases for a limited time, which can make them ideal for solar panel financing. However, you should note that introductory rates don't last forever, and that credit cards currently charge an average APR over 16%.
Rewards credit cards: Rewards credit cards can help you earn travel points or cash back for the cash you spend on your solar investment. Once again, however, the interest rates charged by credit cards can be much higher than personal loans.
Home equity loans: Home equity loans let you use the equity in your home as collateral for your loan. Similar to personal loans, these loans come with fixed interest rates, fixed monthly payments, and fixed repayment terms.
Home equity lines of credit (HELOCs): Home equity lines also let you use the equity in your home as collateral, and they extend a line of credit you can borrow against when you need it. However, HELOCs typically come with variable interest rates, and your monthly payment will fluctuate based on how much credit you access.
With solar panel systems costing thousands of dollars no matter where you live, finding the best financing option for this investment is crucial. After all, installing a solar system is about more than helping the environment — it's also about reducing your energy expenses and saving money over the long-term.
With that in mind, you'll want to focus on solar lending companies that offer the best rates and loan terms. Also watch out for fees associated with solar panel loans, including origination fees, prepayment penalties, application fees, and hidden fees.
The best solar panel loans we chose for this ranking provide an excellent place to start your research, so dive into the details and don't stop until you find the right solar financing for your needs.
Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)
How many solar panels are needed to power my home?
According to recent research, the average home solar system requires between 20 and 24 solar panels to cover the full electricity needs of the building. However, the number of solar panels you need can vary widely depending on the size of your home and roof, where you live, energy efficiency in your area, and additional factors.
What is the average electric bill with solar panels?
While installing a solar system on your property can help you save money on electricity over time, receiving an electric bill of $0 is unlikely to happen. This is partly due to the fact that grid-tied systems still draw on traditional energy when solar is underperforming, but there may be additional fees for using solar as well.
You may also be able to "sell back" excess electricity your solar system creates using a policy known as net metering. At the end of the day, your electric bill after solar can vary widely based on how productive your system is, where you live, and fees charged by your local energy company.