How to pay if you don't have the capital

There are various ways to finance an install if you don’t have the capital, for example, by taking out a ‘green mortgage’, or obtaining a loan from the Great Western Credit Union.

Taking out a ‘green mortgage’

‘MoneySavingExpert’ offers an overview of ‘green mortgages’.

Green mortgages from mainstream lenders tend to have interest rates around 2-3.5%.  Compared with other loan options, this is a low interest rate.  However, as MoneySavingExpert point out, the lender could be investing your monthly payments in environmentally-damaging industries, such as fossil fuels.   The site adds, “if you're interested in taking out a green mortgage, but are worried about the lender's green credentials, the likes of Bank Green and Banking on Climate Chaos have more information.”

For greener credentials, there's the Ecology Building Society (EBS), which may be able to help if you're looking for specialist financial support to carry out green improvements or renovation.  As MoneySavingExpert points out, this is “arguably the one lender that can be considered to be genuinely green”.   It’s one of only two banks or building societies which scores more than 15 out of 20 on Ethical Consumer's lender rating system.

Interest rates on EBS mortgages are higher (in the range 4-5%). However, you could qualify for a 'C-Change' discount off your interest rate (up to 1.5%) once you're able to prove that your property is energy efficient.

Taking out a loan with the Great Western Credit Union

A more local option would be take out a loan with the Great Western Credit Union (GWCU).  The credit union exists to “create a new way of banking: that’s fairer, more inclusive, and that makes our local economies and communities stronger”.

GWCU is offering an unsecured Solar Loan for members at a 4.9% APR rate. This rate is only available for solar installations, but could be extended for other ‘green’ home improvements subject to demand.

GWCU advise that it can make sense to borrow without securing the lending against your property even where the rate is a little higher, as the actual total interest paid can be higher on a mortgage if you pay back over a much longer term.  They add that with GWCU you have a say in how the bank is run too by using your vote at their AGM, and you know any surplus generated is used to improve services and deliver community benefit.

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