NYCEEC deploys new no money down solar loan for co-ops and condos

Written By: Stratton Report
December 20, 2016

On December 20, the New York City Energy Efficiency Corporation announced it was deploying a new solar loan product for housing co-ops and condominiums.

Per the organization, this new financing model is designed to allow co-ops and condos to install rooftop solar PV systems with no cash out of pocket, with Elmo Homes, a co-op in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, being the first customer for this new solar loan.

According to the lender, the co-op association at Elmo knew that rooftop solar only made sense the owners were able to take advantage of federal, state, and city tax incentives for solar installation, just like an individual homeowner would. In response, NYCEEC emphasized that it had offered a $186,000 NYCEEC loan to the co-op that would be paid off largely by using tax credits received by the owners, which would then be paid back to the co-op in the form of assessments.  In addition, according to the organization, estimated savings of $10,000 per year on electric bills and a credit from NYSERDA’s NY Sun program were also applied to the loan. This means that the co-op borrowers would pay nothing upfront to install the equipment, and pay for the full cost of the system out of the incentives and savings generated by the project over time.

Posie Constable, NYCEEC’s Director of Business Development remarked:

“This is a financing model that capitalizes on the unique ownership structures of co-ops to make rooftop solar viable for small and medium-sized co-op buildings. It gives co-op owners access to clean energy that has largely been installed on single family homes or on large commercial buildings.”

Nick Lombardi, President of Zero Carbon, a NY-based energy solutions provider involved in the transaction observed: “We couldn’t be more thrilled about this development. Co-ops really have great solar potential, but they’re these unique entities that many traditional banks just don’t serve. Financing is almost always where our clients get hung up. We knew there was a solution to this problem for anyone willing to look at it with us, and we found that partner in NYCEEC.”

Eric Appleton, President of Elmo Homes commented: “We were convinced that our project would help to stabilize the finances in our building and move towards reducing our energy costs. Taking a loan to fund the project, however, was worrisome for our members, especially in a building that has never borrowed money in its 90-year history. NYCEEC’s and Zero Carbon’s willingness to work with our decision-making structure and find a way to manage the aggregated tax credits allowed us to be comfortable taking this step.”

Zero Carbon and Elmo Homes were advised on this transaction by Ben Pickard of Peak Power LLC.