Commercial Solar Financing

Commercial Solar Financing, A leasing company owns a solar project for a pre-determined term (the operating lease), usually five to seven years, allowing the lessor to take advantage of accelerated depreciation and the 30% federal investment tax credit. Each month, the host entity pays the lessor a lease cost that is 100% tax-deductible for the lessee. At the end of the operating lease, the lessee has the option to purchase the solar project for a price equal to fair market value or fifteen percent of the total purchase price. If the lease term expires, the lessor may refinance the balance for a future term, and the lessor can continue the lease.


Commercial solar financing loans offer businesses the chance to install solar power on their properties. While the majority of commercial solar financing loans are designed to support utility-scale solar projects, there are also several options for non-profits and businesses looking for a low-cost way to purchase solar panels. SCF provides C&I businesses with PPA and takeout solutions through its cloud-based platform and commitment to the C&I market. The firm also provides origination partners with the reliability and viability they need to build and operate a profitable solar energy project.

Commercial solar financing loans are often structured as leases or power purchase agreements. These agreements are similar to operating leases, but the financier owns the solar system and receives depreciation and tax benefits. While a power purchase agreement (PPA) is similar to a solar lease, it requires a customer to pay monthly fees for the power produced by the solar panel system. This financing option can often require a higher monthly payment than a solar lease. However, the fixed-rate commercial solar financing loans can be more attractive to customers than other solar options.

Commercial solar financing loans can be structured as a lease or loan with an option to pay monthly. Interest rates are calculated based on the terms of the loan and the credit rating of the commercial solar installation company. The duration of the lease or loan is also an important consideration. If the lease term exceeds three years, the lease-purchase option may be a more appropriate option. Commercial solar financing loans can be a great way to make the investment that will benefit the community.


There are two main types of solar leases: operating and capital. Both of these contracts have different accounting implications, but both involve the use of solar energy. Operating leases are essentially loans, while capital leases are considered a form of financing that holds the system on a company’s balance sheet. Operating leases are more like renting equipment than loans do, but capital leases have a few advantages that make them a better choice for some businesses.

Another major difference between a commercial solar lease and a commercial solar PPA is the amount of money you pay each month. A commercial solar lease typically has a fixed monthly payment, while a PPA has variable monthly payments based on the amount of energy generated. PPAs lock customers into a fixed $/kWh rate for energy, while commercial solar leases fluctuate with the seasons. This insulates customers from volatile electric rates, making it easier to budget energy costs over an extended period of time.

Operating leases are different from residential leases in that they require the customers to pay fixed payments to the investor, instead of paying for the entire installation up-front. The annual payments are generally around nine to 12% of the total cost of the installation, although these figures can vary based on project details and the capital provider. Operating lease providers also typically charge additional closing costs to help the project close. Commercial solar leases are an attractive option for many businesses.

Partnership flips

Tax equity investors and sophisticated tax counsel are becoming increasingly interested in partnership flips for commercial solar financing. Partnerships provide a unique combination of benefits for both parties. Tax equity investors, for instance, can receive the full benefits of the ITC, while the developer can claim the benefits of the other investor. The investor receives three benefits: cash, tax savings on losses, and an option to purchase the project at the end of the lease term. The partnership flip structure is a popular choice for large commercial solar projects, but is not appropriate for small commercial solar projects.

The mechanics of a Sale Leaseback are straightforward. The Developer sells the Solar System to a Bank, who simultaneously leases the System. At the end of the lease term, the developer will buy the System back from the Bank. The Developer can then take the Investment Tax Credit and accelerate depreciation, and pass this benefit back to the investor in the form of lower lease payments. The investor receives the benefits from the tax credit and the Developer keeps the rest of the sale price as a Developer Fee. Partnership flips are quicker and cheaper than Sale Leasebacks, since three separate law firms are involved.

Most partnership flip transactions include a call option for the sponsor. The sponsor generally expects to exercise the call option. After all, a partnership is in the business of long-term asset ownership, and sponsors want to retain control. They are also in the business of obtaining a return, so they don’t want their partners to be controlling the business. To do this, they offer an option to buy the investor’s interest at a fixed price, which is often more than the value of future cash flows. Typically, this buyout price is higher than the project’s cost, or the amount required to meet the all-in target IRR. In addition, a put option is also offered.


There are several benefits to solar PPAs for commercial financing. Commercial clients benefit from federal tax incentives and a 30% Federal Investment Tax Credit, which the solar owner receives. The PV system also helps the owner earn an income and RECs that can be sold to local power companies for a profit. Additionally, the owner benefits from a federal tax credit and income generated by the solar system. The solar PPA is popular with nonprofits and commercial customers with low tax status.

Typically, a PPA provides a fixed price for electricity over the course of the agreement. The customer can choose between a fixed-escalator plan, which raises the customer’s bill over time by about 2% or 5%, or a fixed price plan, which keeps the price constant throughout the PPA term. In this way, the customer is able to save more money even as utility prices rise. Moreover, the solar developer assumes the operational risk and system performance.

In addition to the financial benefits, solar PPAs also offer a greener approach. Companies financed by solar PPAs can expect their electricity bills to be lower than those of their competitors. These savings may be more than offset by the lower energy bill and the improved reputation for the company in the community. A solar PPA may even make it easier to sell solar to the company directors. These benefits make solar PPAs more attractive.

Flexible loan terms

Commercial solar financing options can range from very flexible to incredibly long. While traditional bank loans are fixed, the most flexible commercial solar loan options are based on the type of loan you need. For example, a combo loan can have a 12-18-month repayment period to pay off 30% of the loan’s principal. And a bridge loan will allow you to use the tax credit you’ve earned on your solar system as part of the loan’s amortization.

PPAs are another way to finance a commercial solar property. Like PPAs, leases have a similar structure. A third party finances the PV system, but instead of paying the upfront costs, customers make fixed monthly payments over a certain period of time. These payments are usually based on the value of the system and estimated production. The longer the lease, the lower the monthly payment, as the owner is not paying upfront.

Lenders that specialize in solar power have created special lending programs. These programs expand lending options beyond existing lenders, and offer borrowers the chance to compare costs and interest rates. Commercial solar financing options with these lenders are tailored to meet specific business needs, and many offer flexible loan terms. Some offer no money-down loan options with no security other than the solar power system itself. For large commercial solar projects, a loan with such a flexible repayment term could be the ideal solution.

Down payment

Choosing the right financing method is critical when choosing commercial solar financing. If you don’t have enough cash, there are a few options available to you. Commercial solar financing offered through installation companies usually requires no down payment and requires a credit score of 650. Options include no money down with interest-only payments for 18 months and same-as-cash financing. Repayment terms range from one to 25 years. To determine which type of financing is best for you, contact a solar installation company.

The federal government offers incentives for solar installations. These are non-refundable and carry over to subsequent years. A comprehensive database of state incentives for renewable energy and efficiency makes it easy to search by state. A company like LA Solar Group offers commercial solar financing through third-party lenders. Like home improvement loans, these loans require no down payment and have lower monthly payments than personal loans. While you won’t be able to claim the tax credit if you pay the loan in full the first year, the loan will be a tax deduction for years to come.

The down payment for commercial solar financing typically is 10% of the total cost of the solar system. It may be as low as $1,000 or as high as 25% of the total cost. Regardless of the financing method you choose, it’s critical that you understand the terms and conditions associated with each. A PPA is a contract between the solar energy company and the customer, with a fixed price for a pre-determined amount of time. You’ll need to pay back the loan at a specific date, which is called the payback period. You can search through the Google search engine.

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