Rooftop solar is a smart investment for Minnesotans, but financing the upfront costs can be a barrier for many who want to go solar. One innovative solution used around the country is “on-bill” financing. On-bill financing allows you to own a solar system and pay back its cost over time through your monthly electric bill.
On-bill financing is currently not an option in Minnesota, but the good news is that the concept was introduced in the last state legislative session. The bill (SF 3132/HF 3966) would have made it possible for Minnesota utilities to set up on-bill financing for residential rooftop solar, battery storage, as well as other clean and energy efficiency projects.
Currently, nearly all on-billing financing programs only cover energy efficiency and weatherization projects. Extending on-bill financing to cover the upfront costs of residential solar installations is an idea whose time has come.
Unfortunately, the bill stalled in committee, but it is expected to be re-introduced in the 2019 legislative session, and Solar United Neighbors’ supporters will continue to advocate for it.
On Bill Financing and Repayment Programs – The Department of Energy has put together a helpful explainer on how on-bill financing programs work.
On-bill Financing / Repayment Loan Program – Appalachian Voices describes how on-bill financing programs work.
Pedernales: Innovative renewables and financing for an established energy community – We examine how an electric cooperative in Texas has helped its members benefit from solar with on-bill financing.