WATERBURY, Vt. (8/5/14)--The cost of retrofitting a home with energy-efficient or energy-neutral equipment--such as heating systems and solar panels--can be cost prohibitive for many homeowners. However, a group of credit unions in the Northeast are taking steps to make those products a bit more attainable.
In Vermont, three credit unions have linked up with the organization SunCommon to arrange financing for those interested in installing solar panels on their homes, systems that can cost tens of thousands of dollars (The Barre-Montpelier Times Argus July 30).
Through the partnership, property owners approved for the program don't have to pay an upfront cost, but instead receive loans that they pay off over time, similar to a mortgage.
The credit unions that have partnered with SunCommon are Vermont State Employees CU, Montpelier, Vt., with $630 million in assets; New England FCU, Williston, Vt., with $1 billion in assets; and Heritage Family FCU, Rutland, Vt., with $362 million in assets.
SunCommon recently completed its 900th installation, according to the Times Argus.
In Pittsfield, Mass., meanwhile, Greylock FCU, with $1.1 billion assets has started offering no-interest loans to pay for new heating systems and window replacements (The Berkshire Eagle July 15).
Working with local utility companies within the local Heat Loan program, the credit union can offer loans worth up to $15,000 with up to seven-year payback terms.
"We are doing our part to help people reduce their heating fuel costs while supporting community efforts to become 'greener' and save the environment," Marilyn L. Sperling, Greylock president/CEO, told The Berkshire Eagle.
Greylock has given out six such loans so far at an average of $8,000 apiece.