If you’re looking for more information on Dividend Solar, it’s likely for one of two reasons. A local solar company has recommended Dividend Solar because you’re looking for a financing option for your solar system install or you’re looking for a company in your state or area that can get you started on a solar system installation.
Whatever the case for you, we understand that, short of a house or car, a solar system installation is one of the most expensive purchases you can make. It can also have huge benefits for you, which makes it even more vital that you find a solar company that is reputable, legitimate, and not hiding any skeletons in the closet.
That’s our goal here in this article--to scour the internet to find every potential problem and benefit with Dividend Solar so that you can make an informed decision. Spoiler alert: Dividend Solar won’t be for everyone. Here’s how to find out if it’s for you:
What is Dividend Solar and Why Does it Matter?
Dividend Solar was incorporated in 2013, but it’s part of the larger, older Dividend Finance corporation. Dividend Finances provided home improvement financing and loans and chose to create a branch of the company to specifically on solar energy--a $154 billion industry that’s just getting started.
Dividend Solar saw a niche in the market: since solar systems can cost upwards of $20,000, there’s a huge need for financing options to make systems affordable. Dividend Solar also saw the need to walk homeowners through the often complex and overwhelming process of choosing and installing a system.
Where Is Dividend Solar?
Dividend Solar currently operates in more than 30 states, but it’s not simply a bank for solar projects. Instead, you’ll purchase your system through Dividend Solar. You’ll own it outright, and Dividend Solar will use a local-to-you partner for the install. Because of how it keeps everything in-house, Dividend Solar warranties the entire process (more on that later).
The other benefit to Dividend Solar’s in-house expertise is that the financing process is extremely easy. It requires no down payment and offers a very competitive rate.
You can find Dividend Solar in the following states:
What Does Dividend Solar Offer?
Dividend Solar offers a single financing product called EmpowerLoan. There’s no down payment (though you can pay any amount up front), and payments are flat and fixed with “flexible financing terms.”
The entire application process is online-only, and the company prides itself on having an exceptionally streamlined process. You’ll apply either before or after you begin working with one of Dividend Solar’s preferred partners.
Why We Like This Streamlined Loan Process
We appreciate the online-only nature of the process because it helps to make it faster and less time-consuming (there’s nothing worse than needing to make multiple trips to a local bank or even make multiple phone calls).
We also like Dividend Solar’s streamlined lending platform because we think it results in cost savings that are passed along to its customers in the forms of lowered interest rates and fewer transaction costs.
Does Dividend Solar Penalize for Early Repayment?
One of the most frequent questions Dividend Solar gets asked is if there is a penalty for prepayment. The answer is a sound no. Dividend Solar even goes so far as to explain that paying early, while it doesn’t impact your monthly interest rate or minimum payment, will lessen the amount of interest you pay over the life of the loan.
And of course, prepayment will make the life of the loan shorter. The company points to individuals who use their monthly energy savings to help double down on the loan repayment, for even greater savings.
Own Your Own Solar System
Another distinction we want to make about Dividend Solar is that it sets you up so that you own your solar system outright. Unlike other setups that allow you to, for example, lease your solar system, with Dividend Solar you own your entire system outright from the beginning.
Since most solar systems are designed to work for at least 25-30 years, this represents huge cost savings once your initial investment is paid off. Another huge benefit to owning your system is that tax credits only apply to owners--you’ll be missing the savings if you lease your system.
The two most popular types of non-ownership agreements are solar leases and power purchase agreements (PPAs). The latter allows a third party to own the solar system that you install on your home.
Finally, Dividend Solar offers long-term warranties, which is one of the key indicators, we believe, of a company’s reliability. According to this review, Dividend Solar indicated that customers (no matter the state or preferred partner who does the install) all receive the following warranties:
These are all in addition to whatever warranty comes from the manufacturer of your solar panels.
How is Dividend Solar Different From the Competition?
One of the things that set Dividend Solar apart is that it’s neither a bank nor a strictly solar company. Unlike other solar companies which sell or even manufacture solar products or solar installation outfits that help you with the install, Dividend Solar focuses on the financing part of the process.
That doesn’t mean it isn’t involved throughout the whole process, however; this is what makes them both convenient, time-saving, and money-saving for their customers.
Help With Tax Credits for Maximum Savings
Like most solar companies, Dividend Solar focuses on helping individuals get the maximum amount of tax credits available. For example, Dividend Solar’s website currently explains a federal credit that allows solar systems owners to get up to 30% back on their taxes. You can also go here to search for extra credits by state.
Excellent Customer Service
Dividend Solar is also known for providing a high level of customer service. While you’ll work with one of their preferred partners, you aren’t completely handed off and can get in touch with Dividend Solar again at any point in the process.
The company has a helpful website that provides a large amount of information (including a robust FAQs page) and is also reachable by phone or email (or contact form on the website).
Special Issues When Selecting a Solar Company
To be able to fully determine whether or not Dividend Solar (or any solar company) is the right one for you, it’s important to have a fairly thorough understanding of some of the special issues you’ll face when you’re choosing and installing a system.
How a company communicates about these issues and how forthcoming they are will tell you a lot.
Solar Doesn’t Always Save You Money
While the idea of not paying for energy again is extremely appealing if you’re talking to a company that isn’t open and upfront about all the costs involved and the potential for minimal savings, you’re not working with an honest company.
There are even some instances where solar energy will not save you money, and an honest company can help you ward off those situations before you end up in them.
For example, there are some places where the cost of energy is so low (Texas is one such place), and energy draws can be so low that it would well more than ten years for you to even break even. In some cases, you might wait up to twenty years to break even, which is nearly pointless since the warranty ends at that point!
Can You Go Off the Grid?
If you’re one of the many to whom the idea of going off-grid is extremely appealing, you might be surprised to learn that it might not be legal where you live. Some states, municipalities, and other local governments have strict laws or ordinances that must be followed to legally live unconnected to a power grid.
You wouldn’t want to live in violation of federal, state, or local laws to begin with, but you especially don’t want to do so when it comes to solar energy because of how large an investment it is. That’s one of the reasons a company that’s as large as Dividend Solar can be so valuable.
While the company partners with local experts who have a comprehensive understanding of local laws, Dividend Solar operates in enough states that it has a great deal of experience navigating grid laws for its customers.
One of the biggest hurdles to adoption of solar energy has been the issue of supply. If you need energy in the middle of the night, for example, what will you do? Net metering helps to answer this question. In net metering, your solar system is tied into the local power grid. When you have surplus energy, it goes back to your local power plant, and you get a credit that allows you to pull energy free of charge during cloudy days or at night.
There are many different methods of net metering, and all can vary quite a bit depending on your local energy provider and local lows. In some areas, it’s not available at all, so it is an important question, however, that you’ll need to address with the company you choose.
In most traditional home solar systems, solar panels are connected to inverters, which are then “grid-tied” so that you can take advantage of net monitoring. However, an even more efficient way to do this is to purchase an extra storage system for surplus energy. You might have many different reasons for doing so, among them unfavorable net metering regulations in your area.
Batteries convert the DC energy your solar panels produce into the AC power your home runs in. The larger your battery, the more you’ll spend--but the more energy you can store for later use.
Who Are Dividend Solar’s Major Competitors?
Dividend Solar is not the only player in this highly lucrative and rapidly growing game. Here are the company’s top competitors (and our brief thoughts):
Our Final Thoughts on Dividend Solar
If you’re shopping for a solar system, you’re in luck, because are lots of businesses who want you as a customer. Our main advice is to shop around, but don’t shop on price, only. Whether or not Dividend Solar comes in with the lowest bid, based on our research, we believe you can expect a high level of customer service and a quality product and experience.