Solar is entering the mainstream, providing clean renewable energy for millions of homeowners who are drawn to the idea of generating electricity for their homes from the energy of the sun. Unlike other sources of energy, solar does not pollute and does not create any harmful greenhouse gas emissions. When sunlight strikes a solar cell, the energy from the light is converted into electric current through a process called the photoelectric effect. Albert Einstein won the Nobel Prize in physics in 1921 for his discovery of this effect! The photoelectric effect allows us to use solar panels to harness the sun’s energy to power our household needs. Indeed, the sun provides a virtually inexhaustible source of power: it continuously bathes the earth with 35,000 times the amount of energy required by everyone who now uses electricity on the planet.
The environmental appeal of solar, combined with the savings on electricity costs, has contributed to an impressive level of growth. With a value of $3 billion in 2009, the PV industry grew to $13.4 billion by the end of 2014 1 . In 2016 alone, the solar industry is poised to grow 119%, according to GreenTech Media (GTM) research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). The residential solar sector is at the center of this growth, growing by 66% in 2015 and, in 2016, it is on pace to add nearly 3GW 2. Despite these impressive numbers, however, the market penetration for residential solar is still less than 1 percent 3. In other words, there’s a long way to go before solar makes up a significant share of the U.S. residential energy supply. One barrier to increased adoption has been the lack of access to simple, long-term residential solar loans. Sunlight Financial’s innovative loan products are helping speed the adoption of solar by making it easier than ever to reap the energy savings offered by solar ownership.