More Midwest banks see opportunity to finance solar, energy efficiency projects • Missouri Independent

This article was originally published by Energy News Network.

Smaller, regional banks and credit unions are increasingly looking to help homeowners finance solar installations in a sign of growing recognition of the opportunities in clean energy finance.

In the Midwest, Iowa-based Decorah Bank & Trust is among the latest to begin marketing loans for solar and other clean energy projects. The community bank recently relaunched a digital subsidiary called Greenpenny to serve residential and commercial customers in Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Minnesota and Wisconsin.

It joins longtime Twin Cities clean energy lender the Center for Energy and Environment and a handful of credit unions and other community banks offering products in a space traditionally dominated by larger, national firms.

Clean energy advocates are hopeful the availability of local lenders will increase options for borrowers and provide a greater comfort level for those who might be less inclined to trust online lenders or large national banks.

Jeremy Kalin, a partner with Avisen Legal who helped the Minnesota Credit Union Network create its CU Green solar loan program, said typical residential borrowers are sensitive to “long-term value and trust” when looking for lenders. A personal connection to a bank or credit “makes a difference.”

The process often starts with referrals from solar installers. St. Paul-based All Energy Solar offers Greenpenny and Center for…

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