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  • Thumbnail for SOLAR POWER TO THE PEOPLE: AN ANALYSIS OF RESIDENTIAL PHOTOVOLTAIC SYSTEM FINANCING
    SOLAR POWER TO THE PEOPLE: AN ANALYSIS OF RESIDENTIAL PHOTOVOLTAIC SYSTEM FINANCING by Stepien, Isabelle Rogers

    Residential photovoltaic systems can provide a household clean electricity at a lower rate than traditional, utility electricity. Solar systems’ high installation price can prevent many middle-income households from adopting solar, however. This paper examines six ways of purchasing a residential photovoltaic system: a cash purchase, home equity loan, cash out mortgage refinancing, Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) loan, solar Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs), and solar leases. Qualitative and quantitative factors are analyzed to determine the affordability of each purchase option and accessibility of solar financing mechanisms to middle-income Californian households. The 20-year cost of electricity to an average household is modeled with a solar system, purchased six different ways. Total cost considers system purchase, financing costs, maintenance and operation, tax rebates and credits, and Net Energy Metering. This model calculates a 37%-57% savings of 20-year electricity costs when a household adopts solar, compared to using traditional, utility electricity.