Chart: How are homeowners paying for solar?

Not long ago, a homeowner who wanted to install solar on their rooftop had to have a chunk of cash readily available to cover the rather hefty upfront costs. Now there's a more popular method.

Not long ago, a homeowner or commercial property owner who wanted to install solar on their rooftop had to have a chunk of cash readily available to cover the rather hefty upfront costs. Solar companies, realizing they're missing a big piece of the market, are now offering third-party financing options such as leases or power purchase agreements. The financing and leasing options have proven popular.

Sungevity, SolarCity and SunRun all offer financing. Even Google has jumped into the third-part financing game. The search engine giant (and clean energy investor) created a $280 million earlier this year with SolarCity to help finance residential solar installations. Other recent entrants include Clean Power Finance and One Roof Energy.

And today, Vivint Solar announced it will offer financing for 2,400 solar projects currently in its pipeline via $75 million funded by US Bancorp.

Check out these two charts from GTM Research's Solar Market Insight, which Greentech Media highlighted today, that show the rise in third-part financing.  Keep in mind the charts only focus on California.

The second chart shows the same trend with non-residential installs. Note that third-party financing grew from 7 megawatts in the fourth quarter of 2010 to 17.6 MW in the first quarter of this year.

[Via: Greentech Media/GTM Research]

Photo: Wayne National Forest

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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