Seven mortgage lenders deny Meeker couple refinancing due to their use of solar power

MEEKER, Colo. - Linda and Larry Shovan live 50 miles outside of Steamboat Springs in the Flat Top Mountains.

The recently retired couple had no problem getting a loan when they first bought their property 12 years ago.

Now, their decision to install nine solar panels is preventing them from refinancing.

"In my mind we are definitely being punished," said Larry.

"It is frustrating to me that on one hand they're encouraging green energy and solar power, but on the other hand they are not willing to think of property that's off the grid as valuable," said Linda.

So far, the couple has been in contact with seven different mortgage companies.

"The first person we spoke to right down to the last minute said I'm sorry you are the most qualified person that we have ever had in 15 years and we can't get you a loan," said Larry.

Despite being highly qualified and having all credit and capacity verified, each mortgage lender has said the same thing. Government-controlled mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac won't approve their loan because they're not hooked up to the power grid.

"They are trying to put everybody in the same little square peg, we may be different when it comes to off the grid, but that's the only way," said Larry.

No electric company provides power to their home, which is a big part of why the couple decided to put in a 30 thousand dollar solar system. They also received a large federal tax credit for installing the solar panels.

The system is entirely computer operated. The solar panels collect energy from the sun and transfer it into one of 24 batteries stored inside a utility shed.

"Our system handles any of our needs," said Linda.

It produces more than enough energy to fuel their home year round.

"The guideline is that you have to have public utilities so it would be like trying to sell a home that didn't have heat by a fireplace and didn't have a way to have any other heat," said senior loan officer Lainey Hamrick.

Hamrick has dealt with similar mortgages. She says the government backed mortgage companies haven't yet caught up with the renewable energy concept.

"I think eventually with more demand for that happening more and more, eventually that will have to change, but yeah know, it's a big system and they move slowly," continued Hamrick.

It's a fact, Linda and Larry, may have to live with for now.

"I think we're just going to bite the bullet and live with our current mortgage and pay a higher interest rate," said Linda.

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