Treading the waters of tax credits, solar rebates, leases, loans, grants and same-as-cash programs can be daunting. If you’re thinking of going solar, be sure to get the right financing program and solar system for your personal situation.

A solar system can average about $30,000, putting it out of reach for many homeowners; therefore, no-money-down leases and same-as-cash programs have become a popular means for consumers to enjoy the benefits of solar power without having to pay the expensive upfront costs.

“New terms and leases allow most homeowners the ability to afford a solar electric system where in the past they just couldn’t make the economics work for them,” said Don “Cam” Campbell, owner and president of California Solar Electric. “Anyone owning a home and paying more than $100 per month to an electric company should consider solar. There are a variety of new financing options now available, such as same-as-cash programs where homeowners can receive free electricity for 180 days to 18 months. Zero-money-down monthly lease payments can begin at $45 per month — much more reasonable than electric company rates.”

Even with tax credits and solar rebates, many homeowners were still were unable to afford a system, but these new financing programs are gaining popularity quickly.

The terms may seem incredible: zero down, low monthly payments, early buyout options, flexible (renew, buy or return the system) end-of-lease terms. These programs are allowing homeowners to spread the cost of the system over time, making this one of the best investments available in today’s market.

As with any new offering, there are warnings. There are many companies entering the solar business that aren’t likely to be around for long. Homeowners should contract with reliable, experienced solar installers who guarantee their work, systems should come with performance guarantees and financing backed by reputable companies. If you have good credit and a company can’t offer you the following, you should shop around:

» Low interest (no interest on some programs)

» Unsecured financing

» A quick and easy loan process and fast credit decision

» Little to no paperwork

» No application fees, closing costs or prepayment penalties

If you choose to go the traditional cash or loan route, CSE completes all rebate paperwork and submittals in order to ensure proper submissions and maximum returns.

If you have been considering going solar, give California Solar Electric a call at 805.640.7903 and it will provide a free, no-obligation solar estimate and financing consultation to see if this is the right investment for you and your home.

For more information, about California Solar Electric, click here or email

— Helen Solomon represents California Solar Electric.