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Save Money with Solar Panels for Your Home.

Financial Advice

FINANCING HOME RENOVATIONS

Articles and research about improving your home

Save Money with Solar Panels for Your Home.

Financial Advice

FINANCING HOME RENOVATIONS

Articles and research about improving your home

Save Money with Solar Panels for your Home

Published March 28, 2017 by Jim Baker

If it’s one natural resource Texas has plenty of – apart from oil and natural gas, that is -- it’s sunshine. And, as solar technology improves, we’re taking advantage of it in ever-increasing numbers. According to a report in the Austin Business Journal, Texas is “expected to install more than 4,600 megawatts of solar power capacity” over the next few years. This makes our state the fastest growing solar generator in the country. Most of that increase will come from “utility scale solar farms,” however. Individuals still must decide for themselves if solar is right for them.

There are a number of appealing aspects to solar power. Using a renewable resource can be a very gratifying experience because it reduces your carbon footprint. You’ll also see a considerable savings on your utility bill. Having a solar-powered home is a plus when it comes to resale, too, as the prospective buyer will get all the benefits of being completely or partially off the grid without having to shoulder the burden of the startup costs.

And it is those startup costs that are one of the main drawbacks that keeps many people from converting their homes to solar power. While the benefits are generally understood by most, making the commitment to it is going to cost a good deal of money up front.

Fortunately, there are a number of programs in place to help offset the cost. Some utility companies offer rebates and there are generous tax credits for those who have a solar system installed. Solar Austin, a non-profit organization dedicated to renewable energy, offers the following example:

“To give you an idea of what fairly standard solar installation inverters and no additional electric upgrade expenses looks like, a 6-kilowatt solar system could cost approximately $18,000. If your utility company offers rebates ($0.80 per watt, for example), that amount would be deducted:

$18,000 – $4,800 = $13,200

30% of the final amount can be used as a tax credit on your taxes 30% of $13,200 = $3,960

$18,000 – $4,800 – $3,960 = $9,240

Your out-of-pocket investment could be only $9,240 for a no-to-low maintenance solar electric system that will generate its own electricity for the next 25 years!”

This is only a sample; your costs, rebates and tax credits will vary. It’s important that you research what incentives are available so that you can make an informed decision.

If money is the primary roadblock standing between you and your desire to convert your home to solar power, you have the option of putting your home’s equity to work for you. Home Equity Loans were designed just for expenditures like this one. Because you are using your home as collateral, you are unlikely to find a better interest rate than you’ll be getting on your Home Equity Loan. Your loan might also be tax deductible1 (check with a tax professional).

Instead of getting a more expensive personal loan or pricier financing from other sources, you will be able to pay back your low-interest loan over a period of 5, 10, 15, or 20 years while reaping the benefits the loan provided!

To see what your home equity payment could be like or learn more about home equity, click the option below.


1. Home Equity: APR is Annual Percentage Rate. Loans Subject to approval. Combined Loan-to-Value (CLTV) cannot exceed 80% of your home’s value. Additional terms, conditions, and restrictions may apply. Amplify Membership and Property Insurance required.

HELOC: The home equity line of credit Annual Percentage Rate (APR) is variable and is based on the highest Prime Rate published each month-end in The Wall Street Journal Money Rates Table (the "Index"), plus a margin. The current Index is 3.50%. Maximum APR is 17.90%. This Account has a Draw Period of 10 years, after which you will be required to repay any amounts within a 10-year term. Interest on your HELOC may be tax-deductible – please consult your tax advisor for details. Property Insurance, including flood insurance as needed, is required. Loans Subject to approval. Additional terms, conditions, and restrictions may apply. Amplify Membership required. Consult the CFPB's Home Equity Line of Credit booklet as well as the Early HELOC Disclosure for more information.

Under Texas law, the maximum you can borrow with a HELOC is 50% of the fair market value of your home, as long as the combined loan-to-value does not exceed 80% in cases where there is an existing first lien mortgage on the home. A minimum draw amount of $4000 is required for each advance after the initial $10,000 advance at origination.

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