Without the financing that auto makers provide to both car dealers and consumers, the new-car market would be out of reach for a significant number of buyers.
Clean Power Finance wants to use that same financing model to help consumers afford the high cost of solar power.
The average residential solar installation is between $30,000 and $40,000, so getting consumers over sticker shock is a big hurdle for contractors who install solar power, Clean Power chief marketing officer Eric King tells Ezra Roizen in this interview.
In fact, 80% of consumers who get a solar estimate from an installer choose not to go ahead with the purchase, King says.
The way to change that number is by breaking down the cost into manageable chunks.
The message to the consumer is "look at what you're spending per month," King says.
Clean Power originates loans that installers can offer customers at the point of sale.
The company also plans to sell configuration software to installers, who right now mostly use Microsoft Excel. The "third leg" of Clean Power's revenue model, apart from financing fees and subscriptions, is generating leads for installers and then taking a cut of subsequent sales.
Clean Power Finance, based in San Francisco, was founded by Gary Kremen, the serial entrepreneur who founded Match.com. To see Kremen offer his advice to entrepreneurs, check out this interview.