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CT Green Bank review: green lending for solar and other clean energy upgrades

Connecticut (CT) Green Bank was the first green bank founded in the U.S. They support green energy adoption in Connecticut by making green energy financing accessible and affordable for homeowners, businesses, and multifamily property owners.

Based in (you guessed it!) Connecticut, CT Green Bank was established by the Connecticut General Assembly in July 2011 to support the state government’s energy strategy to achieve cleaner, less expensive, and more reliable energy sources while also creating jobs and supporting statewide economic development.

This is an unbiased review: EnergySage is not paid to review brands or products, nor do we earn money from affiliate advertising in this article. The content of this blog is based on research and information available at the time of writing. Learn more about our mission and how we make money as a company.

Key takeaways

  1. CT Green Bank is a green energy lender for Connecticut homeowners, business owners, institutions, and multifamily building owners.

  2. CT Green Bank offers a Smart-E Loan that you can use to make clean energy upgrades to your Connecticut home like solar, solar plus storage, an EV charger, and heat pumps.

  3. They offer their loans via several local lenders and coordinate payment with approved contractors, so you don’t incur additional out-of-pocket expenses.

  4. Compare solar quotes on the EnergySage Marketplace, including financing options like CT Green Bank.

What’s in this article?

What is a green bank?

Before we dive into CT Green Bank’s solar financing products, it’s worth a quick explainer on green banks if you’re not familiar with them. Green banks are specialized lenders created to address gaps in traditional lending to help accelerate investments in clean energy. They are established by state and local legislation, so your state may not have one yet. Currently, 14 states and Washington, D.C. have green banks, but others are exploring them.

How CT Green Bank solar financing works

First of all, as the name suggests, you need to live in Connecticut to get solar financing through CT Green Bank. They offer several clean-focused financial resources, including a residential solar loan and lease program, credit enhancements for energy efficiency and solar, and a commercial property assessed clean energy (PACE) product for various energy conservation efforts.

In this article, we’ll be focusing on CT Green Bank’s Smart-E Loan, which you can use for installing solar panels or other energy-efficient home solutions such as electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, heat pumps, or insulation and sealing. When your installer creates a quote for a solar energy system installation, they may include a built-in financing option from a company like CT Green Bank. (Note: If you live in Connecticut, when you join the EnergySage Marketplace, you can indicate a preference for their loan option during registration.)

CT Green Bank’s solar lending options

Every home solar installation is different. CT Green Bank’s Smart-E Loans offer no money down, low-interest financing with flexible terms to help Connecticut homeowners upgrade your home’s energy efficiency and performance.

Loan types

The Smart-E Loan is the primary loan product you’d consider as a Connecticut homeowner looking to go solar. While the Smart-E Loan program is through CT Green Bank, it’s actually underwritten by a lender partnering with the green bank. You can use the Smart-E Loan for various clean energy or energy efficiency home projects for your Connecticut home, including:

  1. Solar photovoltaic (PV) system

  2. EV charging stations

  3. Solar hot water system

  4. Air source heat pumps or ground source heat pumps

  5. Insulation or window replacements

  6. Heat pump water heater

Previously, there was another program through Connecticut, the Residential Solar Investment Program (RSIP). As of January 1, 2022, it is no longer accepting new applications because the RSIP surpassed its goals. So, CT Green Bank is no longer providing this solar incentive program. A new program by the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) called Residential Renewable Energy Solutions also lays out updates to Connecticut’s net metering.

Loan terms and interest rates

CT Green Bank’s Smart-E Loans are unsecured personal loans, meaning no lien is placed on your property.

CT Green Bank Smart E-Loan terms Loan Term (Years)Standard Annual Percentage Rate (APR) 54.49% 74.99% 105.99% 126.99%

Note: Some Smart-E Loan lenders will also offer 15- and 20-year terms on standard rates. You’ll need to check with the individual lender to confirm.

Loan options

There are two main options of Smart-E Loans based on a few factors such as your credit score and debt-to-income ratio (also known as DTI):

CT Green Bank’s Smart E-Loan Options OPTION 1 OPTION 2 Approximate credit score needed580 and above640 and above Approximate DTI50%45% Potential Lenders• Capital for Change • CorePlus Credit • UnionEastern CT Savings Bank • Mutual Security Credit Union • Nutmeg State Financial Credit Union• Ion Bank • Patriot Bank • Thomaston Saving Bank • Union Savings Bank

Are there other loan options with CT Green Bank?

Suppose you’re worried about qualifying for one of the two above options. In that case, CT Green Bank partners with PosiGen to offer low-to-moderate income homeowners a solar lease and money-saving energy efficiency measures. This program is separate from the Smart-E Loan but is another option for solar lending.

Are you eligible for CT Green Bank’s Smart-E Loan?

To qualify for a CT Green Bank Smart-E Loan, your property must be owner-occupied in a one- to four-unit building located in Connecticut. Additionally, it must be individually metered if it’s a condo or townhouse. You’ll also need to ensure your solar project meets the eligible upgrade requirements for the Smart-E Loan. Your contractor will submit the project scope of work to the CT Green Bank for confirmation that the equipment meets eligibility requirements.

What are some benefits of choosing CT Green Bank’s Smart-E Loan?

You can get pre-approved with a Smart-E Loan lender through CT Green Bank, so you can plan out your solar, solar plus storage, or heat pump project to increase your home’s efficiency. You could potentially get multiple clean energy upgrades using the Smart-E Loan, such as a solar system for your home and an EV charging station to charge your EV or heat pump if you can group projects under one main approved contractor.

Another benefit of the Smart-E Loan is that you can use up to 25 percent of your Smart-E Loan for other related energy improvements such as roof repair or tree removal to install solar. Added bonus— you can also use up to 25 percent of your Smart-E Loan for ENERGY STAR appliances if you’re looking to use less energy with your appliances.

Can you use any installer with a CT Green Bank’s Smart-E Loan?

To get a CT Green Bank Smart E-Loan, you’ll need to select a contractor from their approved list and ensure that your solar or clean energy update qualifies for the program. Your contractor can help you ensure any requirements are met and submit paperwork to CT Green Bank for finalizing your loan.

CT Green Bank solar financing vs. traditional bank loans

As mentioned above, homeowners have a few different sources of financing for their solar projects. EnergySage solar shoppers who finance their purchase will typically choose either a loan from a traditional bank or a specialized lender like CT Green Bank. The type of loan you choose depends on your priorities.

While options to pay for solar are growing, financing for solar and other clean energy upgrades still aren’t as standard as other lendings. This is less of an issue than it was a few years ago, but leveraging CT Green Bank, which specializes in clean energy and solar financing, can still be beneficial. Depending on your location in Connecticut, they have several lenders available who can offer answers to any solar lending-related questions you might have.

Suppose you have a strong relationship with your local bank, and they are willing to offer you solar financing through a home equity loan or line of credit. In that case, you may want to compare the long-term benefits of that option against CT Green Bank’s solar loan option.

Frequently asked questions about solar financing

What’s the best way to finance solar?

The short answer is — it depends. If you’re looking to finance solar for your home, there are a few options to consider. First, you can see if your state has special programs with select lenders, and you may want to check out. There are three main types of solar financing: an upfront cash purchase, a solar loan, and a power purchase agreement (PPA) or solar lease. Factors will depend on what you qualify for based on the lender, such as your credit score and current debt. If you compare solar quotes on EnergySage, you can quickly request financing options from the installers providing you with quotes to see what makes the most sense in your case.

Can I use a green bank to get a solar loan?

That depends. Usually, green banks operate at a state or local level, so you’ll need to see what’s available in your state or area. The Green Bank Consortium lists many green banks throughout the U.S. As of early 2022, there are 14 states and Washington, D.C. with a green bank, and government officials and local leaders across 22 states are exploring or taking steps to form a green bank.

What is a green energy loan?

A green loan is a type of personal loan specifically for projects or updates to your home that increase your home’s energy efficiency. These projects are often larger projects like going solar, getting heat pumps, updating windows and doors, and adding insulation that may require a significant upfront investment. However, over time they can save money on utilities and increase the value of your home.

Where to get a CT Green Bank solar loan for your home or business

CT Green Bank loans are offered through approved lenders using approved contractors. Some Connecticut-based installers who provide solar quotes on the EnergySage Marketplace can work with you on a CT Green Bank Smart-E Loan. If you live in Connecticut and are interested in a loan from CT Green Bank, simply join EnergySage today for free and indicate CT Green Bank as your preferred lender when you register your property. Not a Connecticut resident? You still have options when you check out local installers to work with trusted solar lenders in your area.


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