SAN JOSE, Calif. (8/25/11)--Technology CU is offering two new solar loan programs for homeowners installing solar energy panels. Called Solar $mart, the loans complement San Jose, Calif.-based Tech CU’s work with the Bay Area Climate Collaborative on SunShares, a program through which residents and businesses receive discounts on their solar energy purchases by taking advantage of group buys from solar providers. Regional expansion of SunShares builds upon a pilot program the City of San Jose began for its employees in 2010 with assistance from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar America Cities program. Tech CU members who participate in a SunShares solar installation can choose to receive a pre-negotiated discount using SunPower solar panels or they can participate in a group discount with a solar provider. The $1.5 billion asset credit union will provide financing for all projects through Solar $mart. It offers two loan options: the Solar $mart Home Equity Line of Credit, a secured loan that provides financing up to 80% loan-to-value with credit limits from $5,000 to $75,000; and the Solar $mart Unsecured Loan, which offers 10- or 20-year term loans from $10,000 to $50,000. Also, individuals may qualify for federal tax credits for up to 30% of their solar project.