Best Solar Loan Rates 2017: Finance Your Solar Installation for Less

Installing solar panels on your roof is not only a good way to save money on electricity costs, but also to reduce your carbon footprint. Getting a loan to finance your solar panels, however, can be difficult if you don’t know what you’re looking for.

“Taking out a solar loan may seem daunting,” says Massy Almubidin, owner of IntegrateSun, a Houston-based solar company. “But at the end of the day, you own the solar system and the benefits that come with it. The solar tax credit can reduce the downpayment for the system, and homes with solar often sell faster and for more money.”

To help you find the right financing option, we’ve put together a list of the top five lenders you should consider when applying for a solar loan.

Five lenders with the best solar financing rates

As you’re shopping around for a solar loan, you have several options from which to choose. Often, the solar company you’re buying from offers some kind of financing. In fact, they may offer to foot the bill for a period to incentivize you to sign up.

But at the end of the day, you own the solar system and the benefits that come with it. The solar tax credit can reduce the downpayment for the system, and homes with solar often sell faster and for more money.”

But before you jump on that offer, consider what the interest rate will be after the initial promotion and compare it with these lenders:

1. LightStream

The personal loans division of Suntrust Bank, LightStream offers the lowest rates of the bunch. You’ll even get a lower interest rate if you set up automatic payments — a 0.50% deduction. Here are the details you need to know:



  • Requires good to excellent credit
  • Large APR range

2. SoFi

While SoFi has a powerful presence in the student loan space, it also offers low-interest personal loans, which you can use for anything, including solar panel installation. You’ll even get a 0.25% deduction on that rate if you set up autopay.

Here’s what else you need to know:



  • Funding can take up to a week
  • Has a fairly high credit score requirements

3. Earnest

Using alternative ways to measure your creditworthiness, Earnest can provide loans to people who might not otherwise qualify with another lender. While it offers low interest rates, there is no deduction for setting up autopay on a personal loan with the lender.

Here are some terms to know:



  • Doesn’t offer long repayment periods
  • Has a high credit score requirement

4. LendingClub

Of all of the lenders listed here, LendingClub has the lowest minimum credit score requirement, making it possible for people with bad or fair credit to qualify. As with Earnest, there’s no discount if you elect autopay, but it’s still wise to do so to make sure you don’t miss any payments.

Here are the details to know:


  • Low interest rates available (See LendingClub’s review for the latest rates)
  • Has a low credit score requirement
  • Long repayment periods available

  • Charges an origination fee
  • Large APR range

5. FHA PowerSaver Loan Program

In addition to working with good residential solar financing companies, you can also save on interest by checking out government loans for solar panels.

Technically, it’s not the government that’s lending you the money. Rather, the FHA PowerSaver Loan Program works with different lenders to offer homeowners a way to finance home improvements that help boost the home’s energy efficiency. Here are the details:


  • Low interest rates available
  • Long repayment periods available
  • Interest rate reduction with autopay

  • Actual terms depend on the lender
  • Maximum loan amount may be less than you need
  • Has strict credit requirements

How to qualify for the best rates available

While these lenders offer low-interest loans you can use to finance your solar panels, there’s no guarantee that you’ll get the best rates they offer. In some cases, the range of interest rates is wide.

To make sure you get the best interest rates these lenders offer, consider the following tips:

1. Boost your credit score

The best rates are usually reserved for those with excellent credit. If that doesn’t describe your credit score, take steps to improve your credit, including paying down credit card balances and collection accounts, making payments on time, and checking your credit reports for errors to dispute.

2. Lower your debt or boost your income

Your debt-to-income ratio is a big deal when you’re applying for a loan. The lender wants to know whether adding more debt will stretch you too thin financially. To lower your debt-to-income ratio, pay down your debt or find ways to boost your income, including working overtime and creating a side hustle.

3. Shop around

Don’t just go to the lender with the best interest rates and assume that you’d get a lower rate no matter what. Each lender has its ways of determining creditworthiness, and it’s important to compare several lenders.

Some lenders even offer pre-qualification, which allows you to get an idea of what interest rate you might get without a hard credit check. Doing this can help you avoid getting multiple inquiries on your credit report for no reason.

4. Ask your bank

“If you are a long-term customer with your bank or credit union, they may be able to offer better terms because of the loyalty factor,” says Almubidin.

Which lender should you choose?

There’s no best lender for everyone. Depending on your credit and financial situation, one may be better than the others. As you’re shopping around, check out the interest rates, loan terms, fees, and any other fine print that can impact you as you’re paying back the loan.

“Just like any big purchase that requires a loan, you have to detail what you want from the loan terms and then find the options that best suits you,” says Almubidin. “Research is key, and understanding every aspect of the loan should be a consideration.”

If you’re thorough with your research, you’ll have the peace of mind knowing that you’re getting the best rate for your situation.

Featured lenders for personal loans

Lending PartnerMinimum FICO scoreEstimated APR 
60015.49% – 34.99%*Apply
6804.99% – 14.24% (with AutoPay)*Apply
5.49% – 14.29% APR (with AutoPay)*
4.98% – 11.44% APR (with AutoPay)*
6605.99% – 35.89%*Apply
6204.93% – 29.99%*Apply
5809.95% – 35.99%*Apply
7005.25% – 12%*Apply