For solar financing in Ireland, a handful of companies stand out for their reliability and offerings. Diving into the realm of solar power might seem daunting, but with the right financial partner by your side, it becomes a much smoother journey.
Let’s explore these top contenders in the Irish market, what makes them tick, and how they can potentially pave the way for your sustainable energy aspirations.
Whether you’re a homeowner or a business, understanding your options is the first step to making an enlightened decision. So, ready to light up your solar journey? Let’s delve in.
What Is Solar Financing
Solar financing refers to various financial tools and programs that help homeowners, businesses, and other entities afford the installation of solar panels and related equipment.
Installing a solar power system can have a significant upfront cost. Still, it can result in substantial savings over time due to reduced or eliminated electricity bills and potential tax incentives or rebates.
However, not everyone can afford the upfront costs, which is where solar financing comes in. Here are some common types of solar financing:
Solar loans allow you to borrow money to install a solar system and then return the loan over time, like home or car loans. It means you own the system and can benefit from potential increases in property value.
With a solar lease, a third-party company owns the solar system, and you pay them a monthly fee to “rent” it. You benefit from the electricity the system produces, but the leasing company gets no tax credits or rebates.
Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs)
Like a solar lease, a third-party company owns and maintains the solar system on your property. Instead of paying a fixed monthly lease, you buy solar-generated electricity from the PPA provider at an agreed-upon rate. Besides, it is usually lower than the rates of local utilities.
Solar Incentives and Rebates
Various governments and utilities offer incentives, rebates, or tax credits to reduce the net cost of solar installations. Some programs might provide direct discounts, while others may offer tax breaks.
Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Financing
PACE programs allow homeowners to finance solar installations and pay back the cost over time through property taxes. The new owner takes over the PACE payments after selling the property.
Why Is Solar Financing Important?
- Improved Accessibility: Solar financing allows a broader range of individuals and businesses to access the benefits of solar energy without needing significant upfront capital.
- Economic Benefits: Adopting solar energy can reduce utility bills, offsetting monthly finance payments and often resulting in net savings.
- Environmental Impact: By making solar energy more accessible, solar financing reduces carbon footprints. In addition, it promotes the use of renewable energy sources.
- Stimulating the Solar Market: Financing options stimulate demand and growth in the solar market, leading to job creation, technological advancements, and scale benefits.
- Energy Independence: Financing helps regions and nations reduce dependence on fossil fuels, often imported, and move toward energy self-sufficiency.
- Long-term Cost Savings: Even though there’s an initial financial outlay, over the lifespan of a solar PV system, consumers usually experience significant savings on their electricity bills.
Top 3 Solar Financing Companies in Ireland
Activ8 Solar Energies
Activ8 Solar Energies is one of Ireland’s foremost authorities on solar power. They’ve been the trusted experts in the field since 2007, and with more than 17,500 installations under their belt, they’ve built a significant reputation across the island of Ireland.
What’s particularly notable about Activ8 is their commitment to making solar installation more financially accessible. They’ve collaborated with finance partners to provide loan options for solar PV installations.
If you’re considering going solar, they can offer financial support ranging from €4,000 to €25,000, and you have the flexibility to repay over a period ranging from 2 to 10 years. It’s initiatives like these that truly showcase their dedication to promoting solar energy in Ireland.
Pinergy SolarElectric is making strides in Ireland’s solar energy landscape through its promising collaboration with Finance Ireland. Recognizing the need to make solar installations more financially accessible, they’ve crafted a partnership that allows you to finance your Solar PV Energy installation easily.
Imagine being able to distribute the cost of your solar setup over up to 10 years! Depending on your financial requirements, they offer solutions that allow you to borrow anywhere between €4,000 to €25,000.
And here’s a highlight – once you’re approved, which is a swift process with decisions typically made within 24 hours. The payment for the installation is made directly to Pinergy SolarElectric.
Finance Ireland’s Green Loans, tailored for solar panels simplify the application process and ensure you’re not left hanging wondering about your financing status. It’s a thoughtful approach to facilitating renewable energy adoption in Ireland.
Vision Asset Finance
Vision Asset Finance stands out as a dedicated facilitator for businesses in Ireland looking to harness the power of solar energy. Recognizing the potential of solar panels reduces electricity expenses. They emphasize the financial gains businesses can reap from Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs) and Feed-in Tariffs (FiTs). Besides, these incentives enable businesses to recover their investment costs in a shorter span.
It’s also notable that Vision Asset Finance doesn’t just provide financing but also offers guidance. They stress the importance of factors like:
- the correct orientation of panels for optimal energy generation
- securing the planning permissions
- ensuring grid connectivity, especially when looking at large-scale installations
A highlight of their offering is the affordability and ease of maintenance post-installation. Leading Solar Panel manufacturers typically back their products with extensive warranties, ensuring peace of mind for businesses.
Adding to its diverse financing portfolio, Vision Asset Finance offers Solar PV Leasing terms for periods extending up to 7 years. Again, they collaborate closely with their Approved Vendors in this regard. However, their expertise isn’t limited to just solar financing.
With over two decades of experience in the asset finance realm, they cater to a vast array of business needs – IT setups, coffee machines, gym equipment, and even as unique as helicopters.
What You Need to Know About Energy Efficiency Loan Scheme (EELS)
The Energy Efficiency Loan Scheme is a specialized business loan initiative in Ireland. It can empower small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to make environmentally-conscious choices and lessen their carbon footprint. Here’s a snapshot of what it offers:
- The scheme provides loans ranging from €10,000 up to €150,000, ensuring flexibility based on the specific needs of a business.
- Businesses can opt for repayment terms between 1 to 10 years, offering ample repayment time.
- A notable feature is the advertised interest rate of 4.79%, sourced from the Bank of Ireland’s website.
- One of the chief advantages of this loan scheme is that the rates can be a minimum of 1% lower than what you’d find with comparable loans in the market.
- Furthermore, it is easier to access the loan than conventional business loans. However, SMEs can also breathe relief as no personal guarantees are needed or even permitted.
Who Provides Energy Efficiency Loan Scheme
Strategic Banking Corporation of Ireland (SBCI) provides an Energy Efficiency Loan Scheme. They launched this €150m scheme in July 2022 and are responsible for assessing the eligibility of businesses that apply.
Furthermore, the EU guarantees the loans under this scheme through mechanisms like COSME and the European Fund for Strategic Investment. Again, it enables favorable conditions such as easier access and reduced interest rates.
The scheme is versatile in its application. For instance, businesses can seek financing for energy-efficient initiatives from PV Solar installations. Moreover, they can build energy management systems and energy-efficient lighting for insulation, heat pumps, refrigeration, and EV infrastructure like chargers.
However, businesses need to note that the assets they wish to finance through this scheme need to be listed on the SEAI Triple E Register for Products.
There are notable exceptions as the scheme provides funding for a broad spectrum of energy efficiency measures. One such exclusion is the direct financing of Electric Vehicles (EVs), even though they appear on the SEAI Triple E Register.
Again, this distinction underscores the scheme’s focus on infrastructure and broader energy efficiency measures rather than the direct promotion of EVs.
Pros & Cons Solar Financing in Ireland
As in many other countries, solar financing in Ireland has advantages and disadvantages. Let’s examine the pros and cons specifically in the context of Ireland:
- Affordability: Solar financing allows homeowners and businesses in Ireland to access the benefits of solar energy without upfront investment. Again, this makes solar energy more accessible to a broader range of people.
- Incentives and Grants: The Irish government, along with specific organizations, sometimes offers incentives, grants, or rebates. These help to promote the use of renewable energy. Furthermore, these can further reduce the net cost of solar installations.
- Savings on Electricity Bills: Over time, the cost savings on electricity can offset the loan or financing payments, especially considering the increasing electricity rates.
- Environmental Benefits: Ireland has been trying to reduce its carbon emissions and dependence on fossil fuels. The country moves closer to its renewable energy and sustainability goals by facilitating solar installations through financing.
- Boost to the Local Economy: Increased uptake of solar installations due to financing can lead to job creation and boost the local solar and renewable energy industry.
- Fixed Energy Rates: Financing options like Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) can offer fixed rates for solar-generated electricity. They offer predictability in contrast to fluctuating utility rates.
- Interest Costs: As with any financing, taking out a loan or using other financing options can result in interest payments. Over time, this might increase the overall cost of the solar installation.
- Complex Agreements: Some solar financing options, especially leases or PPAs, come with long-term agreements that may have complex terms and conditions. It’s crucial for homeowners or businesses to fully understand these before committing.
- Dependence on Third Parties: In models like leases or PPAs, a third party owns the solar system. It can sometimes lead to complications if the third party does not maintain the system adequately. Also, if there are disputes regarding system performance.
- Potential Property Sale Complications: If you decide to sell your property and have a solar lease or PPA, the new homeowner agrees to take over the contract. Again, this can complicate the sale process.
- Varied Sunshine: Ireland isn’t known for its sunny climate. While solar panels can still generate energy during cloudy days, their efficiency can be less than in sunny regions. It might affect the return on investment calculations for some.
- Market Evolution: As solar technology advances and becomes cheaper, those who’ve locked in earlier financing rates might feel they’re paying a premium for now-older technology.
As Ireland intensifies its shift towards renewable energy, the prominence of solar financing companies in the region has never been more crucial.
Harnessing the energy generated by the sun provides a sustainable power solution. In addition, it empowers homeowners and businesses to tap into the potential of selling excess electricity back to the grid.
Various financing options are available, from green loans designed specifically for solar installations to more flexible arrangements. They help these companies to play an indispensable role in the country’s energy transformation.
Moreover, as the integration of electric car infrastructure gains momentum, there’s a heightened focus on solar installations that can cater to these futuristic transportation means. Beyond just powering homes, solar energy is also being leveraged to provide hot water, reducing the reliance on traditional, less eco-friendly methods.
For those considering a switch to solar energy, it’s a promising time. The top solar financing companies in Ireland offer diverse packages tailored to individual needs, ensuring everyone has an opportunity to save on energy bills. They also help to reduce their carbon footprint and contribute to a brighter, more sustainable future.