Great Loans for Solar Installations

solar-on-pole-mountThere are two loan programs that are available to our customers to help offset the cost of installing solar panels.  One is a HIP loan and is available for Hamilton County residents and one is the EcoLink program which is available for Ohio residents.

1. HIP Loan (Hamilton County’s Property Improvement Program)

This program allows Hamilton County residents to borrow money to repair or remodel their homes or rental property at interest rates 3% below the lowest rate a bank would normally offer.

Solar panels qualify!

  • Loans at 3% below market rate, 5 year term – only one outstanding loan at any given time
  • Available in participating Hamilton County communities.  Milford City does not participate.
  • No Income Restrictions or limits (must be able to meet bank’s credit requirements)
  • Loans are capped at $50,000
  • For one-family, or two-family, and commercial properties valued up to $350,000 (based on Hamilton County Auditor’s appraisal)
  • All Property taxes must be current
  • Owner-occupied and investment dwellings qualify for the program
  • There is no property value limit on multi-family dwellings (three or more units)

Most types of permanent repairs or improvements are allowable. The HIP loan is structured as a home equity loan, secured by a second mortgage on the property.

Most of the banks are unwilling to approve the loan if they cannot obtain a secondary lien on the property. However, you should discuss your options with a participating lender.

Five banks participate in the program-Fifth Third, First Safety, Key Bank, North Side bank, and US Bank.  Rates vary from bank to bank.  Closing costs vary from bank to bank.  It is worth it to shop around.

Traditionally, the lowest interest rates have been given by Key Bank and US Bank.  Shelley Cummings(513-533-7716) at Key Bank is very knowledgeable about the program.

To find out more, check out the website at

Contact Information
Jay Springer, “HIP” Coordinator
Hamilton County Department of Planning and Development
138 East Court Street, Room 807
Cincinnati, OH 45202

Phone: 513.946.4459

Fax: 513.946.4475

2. EcoLink Program

ECO-Link offers a reduced interest rate on qualifying loans to homeowners completing energy-efficient upgrades, installing renewable energy products or weatherizing their homes

Solar panels qualify!

  • ECO-Link is a partnership between the State Treasurer of Ohio and participating state banks.  Find a list of the participating banks on the website
  • Provides a 3% interest rate reduction for five or seven years on  bank  loans
  • Must be used to complete energy-efficient upgrades in your home.
  • Must be an Ohio Resident
  • The maximum loan amount is $50,000.
  • There is no limit on property value to qualify for the loan
  • A homeowner can opt for a seven-year rate reduction if the loan is for more than $25,000.
  • The homeowner must use at least 50% of the loan proceeds for the installation of qualifying energy-efficient products; the other 50% of the loan can relate to other home improvement projects.
  • There are no fees for the preparation, processing, reporting or monitoring of any ECO-Link application to the Treasury.
  • Eligible products and projects include, but are not limited to:
    washing machines, dishwashers, furnaces, hot water heaters, freezers, refrigerators, heat pumps, air conditioners, windows, doors, roofing, insulation, septic tanks, boilers, programmable thermostats, geothermal units, solar panels and small scale wind turbines.

To find out more visit their website at

Contact the Ohio Treasury, Department of Economic Development via e-mail at call (614) 466-6546 or toll free at (800) 228-1102