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Browse common questions, find contact info, or get answers about online banking — it’s all here for you in one place.
Credit unions are democratically owned, not-for-profit financial cooperatives that serve an identified community (rather than the general public). The people and organizations within the identified community are eligible to become “members” or “member-owners” of the credit union. Credit unions are designed to leverage the financial strength of their members in order to provide financial services to one another without the need to make a profit from these transactions. As a member-owner of a credit union, you have the ability to take out loans, make deposits, run for the board of directors, and cast a vote in elections (on a one-vote-per-member basis).
When a credit union is federally chartered, like Clean Energy Credit Union, it is technically a 501(c)(1) tax-exempt organization that’s regulated by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) and receives deposit insurance from the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF)
While credit unions are similar to banks, there are also many important differences. To learn more about how credit unions differ from banks, see this FAQ on the subject.
- National Credit Union Administration (NCUA)
- Credit Union National Association (CUNA)
- National Association of Federal Credit Unions (NAFCU)
- Mountain West Credit Union Association (MWCUA)
- World Council of Credit Unions
By joining, you’ll gain access to outstanding clean energy loans and investment opportunities. Every dollar deposited in Clean Energy Credit Union earns interest while being used to help you and/or other members finance a clean energy product or service. Our unique clean energy loan terms are among the best available in the market.
In addition, you’ll help us achieve Clean Energy Credit Union’s vision of a world where everyone can participate in the clean energy movement. We help manifest this vision by serving the following important marketplace needs:
- Providing excellent loan terms for solar electric systems, electric vehicles, home energy efficiency improvements, and other clean energy products and services;
- Offering federally insured opportunities to invest in clean energy that are less risky than other clean energy investment products available on the market today; and
- Providing these services as a not-for-profit, cooperative financial institution (not a megabank) that will remain dedicated to its mission over the long term.
By reducing the cost of financing, Clean Energy Credit Union reduces the price associated with using clean energy, thereby making it more accessible to a broader population than it otherwise would be. By offering federally insured (i.e. low-risk) investment opportunities with low minimum thresholds, regular people – not just big financiers – are able to leverage their dollars to support clean energy, thereby increasing the volume of funds available to help finance the clean energy movement.
Ultimately, our goal is to make it easier for everyone to use and to invest in clean energy in order to help protect our environment and improve our economy.
In order to offer competitive interest rates, Clean Energy Credit Union emphasizes a lean business model. It operates solely online and via mobile devices, and has no brick-and-mortar branch offices. It offers phone and online support to assist members with questions, and it streamlines member communications by corresponding electronically (also thereby saving any paper associated with hard-copy account statements). All of these measures contribute to an efficient and cost-effective operation, thus keeping overhead as low as possible. Savings in overhead are then passed through to members in the form of better interest rates.
First, you need to ensure that you’re eligible to join Clean Energy Credit Union by being in its “field of membership,” which currently includes being one of the following:
- A member of one of the following organizations:
- African-American Credit Union Coalition
- American Solar Energy Society
- Association of Energy Service Professionals
- Colorado Renewable Energy Society
- Electric Auto Association
- Engineers for a Sustainable World
- Georgia Solar Energy Association
- Green America
- GreenHome Institute
- Illinois Solar Energy Association
- Midwest Renewable Energy Association
- Northeast Sustainable Energy Association
- Polar Bear Sustainable Energy Co-op
- RENEW Wisconsin
- Renewable Energy Owners Coalition of America
- Solar United Neighbors
- Texas Solar Energy Society
- Women of Renewable Industries and Sustainable Energy
- An employee or volunteer of one of the following organizations:
- A member of the immediate family or household of someone who is eligible via one of the above options or of someone who is already a member of Clean Energy Credit Union
If you’re not already eligible to join Clean Energy Credit Union, you can consider joining one of the above organizations. An individual membership in American Solar Energy Society, for example, currently costs as little as $10 (NOTE: you must enter the discount code and select a Digital-Only Basic membership). Click here to learn more about the field of membership partner organizations listed above.
After confirming your eligibility, you would then open a “share account” (i.e. savings account) with a $5 minimum deposit which would serve as your ownership share in Clean Energy Credit Union. Once someone becomes a member of the Credit Union, they are a member for life. Click here to join Clean Energy Credit Union.
In case it helps, here’s some background on what a credit union “field of membership” is: although credit unions provide similar services as banks, they are different from banks in many ways. For example, a credit union is a not-for-profit, financial services cooperative that exists solely to serve its members and to fulfill its mission, whereas a bank exists to maximize financial returns for its stockholders. Another difference is that a bank can serve the general public whereas a credit union can only serve its “field of membership,” which is defined by regulators as the people and entities that are legally eligible to join the credit union. Ultimately, a credit union’s field of membership is comprised of one or more groups of people and entities that all have something in common that binds them together in some way. Many credit unions have a field of membership that includes people who work for a certain employer, or who live in a certain geographic area, or who are members of the same professional association or religious organization.
ASES serves as the 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsor for Clean Energy Credit Union and also as our founding “field of membership” organization. Click here to learn more about our field of membership.
Established in 1954, ASES is one of the nation’s leading associations of solar advocates and professionals and is the U.S. section of the International Solar Energy Society (ISES). Its mission is to “to enable a 100% renewable energy society.” In addition to publishing Solar Today Magazine, ASES organizes a national conference and a national solar home tour each year. ASES has regional chapters in 41 states throughout the U.S., seven student chapters, and nine technical divisions for shared technical research among solar professionals and academics. For more information, visit ases.org
First, please consider joining the Credit Union and making a deposit via a checking account, savings account, money market account, CD, and/or IRA. Your money will only be used to provide clean energy loans to other members, and we need all of the deposits we can get in order to continue meeting our ever-growing loan demand. Your deposits will be federally insured (up to $250k per person or organization), promote clean energy, and protect the environment. You’ll also be able to easily transfer funds between your accounts in Clean Energy Credit Union and your other financial institution via a free ACH transfer on your computer or mobile device. Learn more about ACH transfers. Join Clean Energy Credit Union.
Second, please consider applying for a loan for a clean energy product or service. Learn more about our loan products.
Lastly, please consider making a tax-deductible donation to support the Credit Union’s growth via our 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsor, the American Solar Energy Society (ASES). Learn more about ASES. While Clean Energy Credit Union is a self-sustaining 501(c)(1) organization, with the help of donations, our credit union will expand its operations, positive impact, and clean energy lending faster than otherwise. Since credit unions can’t have stockholders, we therefore can’t raise money in that way. So, credit unions can only fund themselves with either donations or retained earnings (i.e. profit). Furthermore, due to federal regulations, credit unions must maintain a certain amount of capital reserves at all times. The end result of this regulation is that for every $1 in donations our credit unions receive, it allows us to accept $14 of federally insured member deposits and then lend out the combined $15 for clean energy loans. Your donation would therefore be leveraged by 14-to-1 to help us fulfill our mission, and your donation essentially becomes part of a revolving loan fund whereby we can reuse it to make clean energy loans again and again in perpetuity. Make a donation.
Donations can be made in one of the following two ways:
1. By entering your credit card or PayPal information on our donation page (enter “Clean Energy Credit Union” in the comments/memo section); or
2. By mailing a check with “Clean Energy Credit Union” in the memo line, payable to:
American Solar Energy Society
2525 Arapahoe Ave, Ste E4-253
Boulder, CO 80302
By donating to the Credit Union via the American Solar Energy Society (ASES), which is our 501(c)(3) “fiscal sponsor,” your donations can be tax-deductible. Upon receiving donations of $250 or more, ASES will provide a receipt for your records. To learn more about ASES, click here.
While Clean Energy Credit Union is a self-sustaining 501(c)(1) organization, with the help of donations, our credit union will expand its operations, positive impact, and clean energy lending fasterthan otherwise. Since credit unions can’t have stockholders, we therefore can’t raise money in that way. So, credit unions can only fund themselves with either donations or retained earnings (i.e. profit). Furthermore, due to federal regulations, credit unions must maintain a certain amount of capital reserves at all times. The end result of this regulation is that for every $1 in donations our credit unions receive, it allows us to accept $14 of federally insured member deposits and then lend out the combined $15 for clean energy loans. Your donation would therefore be leveraged by 14-to-1 to help us fulfill our mission, and your donation essentially becomes part of a revolving loan fund whereby we can reuse it to make clean energy loans again and again in perpetuity.
Yes. All donations to Clean Energy Credit Union can be made via the American Solar Energy Society (ASES), which is our 501(c)(3) “fiscal sponsor.” This means that our credit union is a project that ASES supports and which is aligned with its charitable purpose as a 501(c)(3). So, any donation to ASES can be designated to support Clean Energy Credit Union project and 98-99% of your donation will be transferred within the same month. Why only 98%-99%? This is because ASES keeps an administrative fee, which goes towards the staff and infrastructure required to support the Credit Union, which equals 1%-2% (depending on the volume of donations that they process on our behalf). A 1%-2% administrative fee is a very good rate when it comes to 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsorships, and we are grateful to ASES for all of their support, encouragement, and assistance in pursuing our shared missions. Click here to learn more about ASES.
Yes, you can “invest” in Clean Energy Credit Union by either making a checking, savings, or money market account deposit or by purchasing a “clean energy CD.” Any such deposits or CDs are insured by the federal government up to $250k per person or per organization. The Credit Union does not have “owners” or “investors” in the same way that a for-profit bank would. Instead, the Credit Union is democratically owned by all of its members. Members then elect the Credit Union’s volunteer Board of Directors on a one-vote-per-member basis and earn “dividends” or interest on their deposits.
In addition, the federal government requires that all banks and credit unions be capitalized with $1 in “net worth” or “net assets” for every $14 that they can accept in federally insured deposits. As 501(c)(1) not-for-profit organizations, federally chartered credit unions like ours can only build their net worth or net assets in two ways: (1) via retained earnings (i.e. profit); and (2) via donations from supporters. Making a donation to a credit union is very similar to making a donation to a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. In the first few years, we intend to raise over $5M in donations and accept $50M in deposits. Click here if you’d like to make a donation.
The routing number (or ABA number) is: 107089940. Please use this for receiving ACH transfers from your accounts at other financial institutions or to set up direct deposit. If you need instructions for receiving a wire transfer, please contact us by email, by phone at 720-479-7900, or via the “Chat with us!” button in the lower right corner.
Clean Energy Credit Union is currently planning to offer the following products and services in the coming years:
- Credit cards (2023+)
- Home equity lines of credit (2023+)
- Loans to businesses, non-profits, and other organizations (2023+)
- Mortgages for net-zero energy or energy efficient homes (2024+)
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Because we are a federally chartered credit union, all deposits will be federally insured up to the allowable limits (e.g. up to $250k per person or per organization). This makes opening a deposit account or buying a “clean energy CD” far less risky than any other kind of investment in the clean energy sector. Furthermore, with low minimum investment thresholds, regular people—not just big financiers—will be able to leverage their dollars to support clean energy through safe, sound investments.
All deposits in Clean Energy Credit Union are insured by the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund (NCUSIF). According to Wikipedia: “[The NCUSIF] is administered by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) for the purpose of providing deposit insurance to protect deposits of credit union members at insured institutions in the United States. It was created in 1970 shortly after the creation of the NCUA as an independent regulator of credit unions. The NCUSIF is funded completely by participating credit unions, and no taxpayer dollars have ever been used to bail out a credit union. The NCUSIF is backed by the full faith and credit of the United States government.”
An ACH transfer refers to any electronic movement of money between different financial institutions that goes through the Automated Clearing House (ACH) network, one of the biggest U.S. payment systems that has been around for almost 40 years. ACH transfers are commonly used for online bill pay, and direct deposit, and transferring funds between financial institutions. For example, PayPal and Venmo, both use the ACH network. ACH transfers are more convenient and less expensive than wire transfers, which typically incur fees both the sending and receiving financial institutions.
Since Clean Energy Credit Union isn’t initially offering checking accounts, we’re hoping that you’ll move your savings account to Clean Energy Credit Union while retaining your current checking account. You would then be able to easily transfer funds between your accounts in Clean Energy Credit Union and your other financial institution via a free ACH transfer on your computer or mobile device.
At Clean Energy Credit Union, ACH transfers are free for members. They are also typically free for at other financial institutions. However, it can take 1-3 days for transferred funds to be received and available for withdrawal.
Savings accounts require a $5 minimum balance to maintain the account (and to maintain your membership in the Credit Union). Checking accounts require a $25 minimum deposit to open the account, but no ongoing minimum monthly balance is required. Money market accounts require a $2,500 minimum balance to maintain the account.
Interest payments are made on a monthly basis and are automatically deposited into your Clean Energy Credit Union savings account.
Yes, you can set up automatic bill payment from your checking account.
If you only have a savings account, money market account, or Clean Energy CD, account statements are sent out at the beginning of each quarter. If you also have a checking account, any loan activity, or a CD that is maturing, statements will be sent out at the beginning of each month.
Yes, you can either click on the “Chat” bottom at the top and bottom of each page on our website, or you can call us at 720-479-7900.
In online banking or on our mobile app, get started by selecting “Add Card Alerts or Blocks” under the Card Controls tab in online banking. Choose “Set Declines and Alerts” next to the card you’d like to set alerts for. From there, choose which type of transaction you’d like to modify the settings for. You can set declines and alerts based on merchant type, location, and spend limits.
Clean Energy Loans
A solar PV combo loan is actually two separate loans that, when combined, provide homeowners with an
optimized, no-money-down finance strategy for their solar PV system installation. Here’s how the two parts
PART 1 OF 2: Short-Term Balloon Loan for 12 or 18 Months
You may be eligible for a federal income tax credit equal to 30% of the cost of your solar PV system installation
(NOTE: please consult your tax advisor). The intention of this short-term balloon loan is to float the amount of this
30% tax credit until after your next annual tax filing. As a result, the principal and interest from this short-term
loan MUST be repaid in full within 12 or 18 months of your solar PV system installation. Significant penalties apply
for late repayment (17.99% interest over your full loan term). As such, this loan is best fit for homeowners
who are able to use the full 30% tax credit to pay off their loan on time. This short-term loan can be prepaid at any
time without penalty and homeowners are encouraged to schedule a one-time, automatic balloon payment on or
before their loan maturity date.
PART 2 OF 2: Long-Term Loan for 12, 15, or 20 Years
The remaining 70% of the cost of your solar PV system installation is covered in the form of a long-term loan
subject to a fixed interest rate and payable in identical monthly installments of principal and interest for a
period of either 12, 15, or 20 years. This long-term loan can be prepaid at any time without penalty, and
homeowners are encouraged to schedule automatic monthly payments.
See an example here.
Click here to see a list of eligible products.
See rates and terms for our clean energy loans.
No. Instead, all “do it yourself” (DIY), self-installed, or self-managed solar projects are only eligible to be financed by an Unsecured Green Home Improvement Loan. For DIY solar projects, we consider the Borrower to be the General Contractor for the project. As such, loan proceeds will be disbursed directly to Borrower after the project is completed, and it is the Borrower’s responsibility to pay any subcontractors, labor providers, and/or equipment suppliers directly. Please contact us for more details about DIY solar projects.
Up to 45% of a solar PV loan’s proceeds can be used to finance non-solar PV, “mission-aligned project scope” such as batteries, an electric vehicle charger, a heat pump, an entirely new roof using Energy Star rated shingles, and other eligible products and services that generate clean energy, conserve energy, or improve energy efficiency. Included in this 45% limit, other “ancillary costs” can also be financed if: (1) they are necessary for the effective installation and operation of the solar PV system; and (2) they do not exceed a total of $4,000 (which counts towards the 45% limit). Some examples of “ancillary costs” that can be included in the $4,000 limit are: an electric service panel upgrade, tree trimming, roof vent re-routing, and minor roof repairs or roof patching. An example of what cannot be included is a non-standard, specialized support structure such as a solar carport, gazebo, pavilion, etc. For project scope that may exceed the 45% limit, or for batteries-only projects (e.g. adding batteries to a previously installed solar PV system), these may be financed via a green home improvement loan (which would be separate from the solar PV system loan). Please see the graphic below which helps illustrate the 45% limit versus the $4,000 limit.
Can electrical service panel upgrades be included?
Yes, electrical service panel upgrades or other electrical work can be included and can receive up to $4,000 in funding. The exception is a SPAN panel which is on our list of eligible products and services and can therefore be included in the 45% limit (without counting towards the $4,000 limit).
Can roof work be included?
Yes. For minor roof repairs, rafter upgrades, and roof vent re-routing, those costs can be included in the $4,000 limit. For a full roof replacement, this can be included in the 45% limit (without counting towards the $4,000 limit), but the roofing materials must comply with the specifications in our list of eligible products and services (e.g. via Energy Star certification).
What documentation doe sthe credit union need to approve the “mission-aligned project scope” and/or the “ancillary costs?”
The borrower’s purchase/installation contract should include an itemized list of costs for the solar PV work scope versus all other work scope, equipment, etc. It should include sufficient descriptions (e.g. equipment manufacturer and model, description of each task/service, etc.) and be self-explanatory in complying with the requirements described above.
Vehicle & Personal Loans
E-bikes are defined as any bicycle that includes an integrated electric motor, but also retains the ability to be pedaled by the rider. NOTE: Electrified two-wheelers without pedals would be considered electric motorcycles, which are eligible for our clean energy vehicle loans.
Clean Energy Credit Union is currently offering checking accounts, savings accounts, money market accounts, CDs, IRAs, debit cards, a residential solar electric system loan, a clean energy vehicle loan, a residential geothermal system loan, a green home improvement loan, an electric bicycle loan, and online/mobile banking services. In the future, we plan to offer credit cards, mortgages, home equity loans, and commercial loans. Click here to learn more about our Savings Products and Loan Products.
Yes, you can access your accounts from any computer or mobile device. You can search for the app, “Clean Energy Credit Union,” on your app store.
Our vendors and software for online/mobile banking functionality are among the best in the credit union industry, and they work with hundreds of credit unions throughout the U.S. In addition to providing us with secure software platform, they also host our servers and keep them secure. In addition, regardless of which vendors and software we use for our online/mobile banking activities, all deposits in Clean Energy Credit Union are federally insured up to $250k per person and per organization.
Depositing funds into your account is easy with our mobile deposit feature within the Clean Energy Mobile Banking App. If you haven’t already, download the app from the app store. Log in to the app. Tap the “Check Deposit” option at the bottom of the screen. Follow the instructions to take photos of the front and back of your endorsed check.
If you have a checking account and a debit card, you can make up to five free ATM withdrawals per month from any of 32,000+ MoneyPass® shared ATM machines throughout the USA (and international travelers can use any of 2.1 million Cirrus ATM’s worldwide where fees may apply). You can download the MoneyPass® mobile app to locate the nearest network ATM. You can also use your debit card to get free cash back at the “point of sale” (e.g. when making a purchase at your local grocery store).
Registering for online banking is quick and easy. Visit our Online & Mobile Banking to follow step-by-step instructions.
Can’t Find What You’re Looking For?
Get in touch with our staff. We’re always happy to answer your questions.