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SolarWorld looks to lure with new financing

No-money-down and lease options are offered to residential buyers, and power-of-purchase agreements are available for commercial customers.

SolarWord's Australian solar-powered car race developed in conjunction with student engineers from the German university Hochschule Bochum. SolarWorld

You could call this a sign of the economic times coupled with the current populist enthusiasm for renewable energy.

The financing arm of solar manufacturing giant SolarWorld just announced it will offer new types of financing options to attract would-be solar panel owners who might not have the money to buy upfront.

Under a new program, homeowners can choose to defer payments on solar equipment altogether until they receive their eligible state and/or federal incentives. Residents in some states in the western U.S. are also being offered an option to lease Sunkits, SolarWorld's panels-to-nuts solar system kits for roofs that include the solar panels, inverters, connector cables, and mounting hardware.

Commercial and nonprofit organizations are eligible to either lease SolarWorld equipment, or enter a power of purchase agreement (PPA) in which the owner of the solar system agrees to pay the financier for electricity at a discounted rate.

The creative financing effort to spur growth is a far cry from just two years ago, when SolarWorld was making waves with its offer to buy GM's Opel brand for about $1 billion. At the time SolarWorld CEO Frank Asbeck said his company was looking to build the "first 'green' European automotive group."