More than 100 co-ops around the country currently offer their members access to financing for efficiency and solar investments, generally through on-bill financing (OBF) programs. With this offering, co-ops provide an essential service to members who want to make energy-related investments but are not in a position to make an upfront cash purchase, especially for high-cost items. Although most co-op programs focus on efficiency investments, some provide financing for rooftop solar systems. This article reviews on-bill financing and its role in assisting members implement energy efficiency and renewable energy measures.

Value to Electric Cooperatives

The number of co-ops currently offering energy-related financing is impressive; however, over 85 percent of co-ops do not currently offer any financing, leaving many members unable to install adequate insulation or a new heat pump. The design of energy-related financing programs varies significantly. The insights and lessons learned provided in this article will help cooperatives understand the opportunities and challenges presented by various on-bill financing programs, for use in determining whether to implement a program for their members.