If Berkeley can do it …

… why can’t Alameda?

The City of Berkeley is proposing to finance the purchase and installation of solar on homes within the city. The homeowner pays for the solar through their property taxes over a 20 year period, thus eliminating the biggest hurdle in going solar  – the upfront installation costs!

This is how Berkeley’s program would work:

A property owner would hire a city-approved solar installer, who would determine the best solar system for the property, depending on energy use. Most residential solar panel systems in the city cost from $15,000 to $20,000. The city would pay the contractor for the system and its installation, minus any applicable state and federal rebates, and would add an assessment to the property owner’s tax bill to pay for the system.

The extra tax would include administrative fees and interest, which would be lower than what the property owner could obtain on his own, because the city would secure low-interest bonds and loans, officials say. The tax would stay with the property even if the owner sold, although the owner would have to leave the solar panels. The property owner would save money on monthly electricity bill because electricity generated by the solar panels would partly replace electricity delivered by the utility.

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4 Responses to “If Berkeley can do it …”

  1. fight4 solar panel Says:

    Something I find slightly comical is how so many people will say that it isn’t worth it to add

    solar energy to your home because it takes too long for the system to “pay itself off”. If you

    save up the money and have a system installed you suddenly have a tiny utility bill, if any

    bill at all. To me it’s a simple cash-flow equation.

  2. James Chen Says:

    My electric bill is $15 per month. In a good month, I can get the monthly bill down to $10. It makes no economic sense for me to go solar. By the way, I also don’t use CFC light bulbs.

  3. Drew Says:

    fight4 solar panel, have you actually done the cash flow equation?

    Figure out how much money the cost of the solar panels would earn you in a high-interest CD for 20 years, vs. how much you’d save on your electric bills. I have a feeling adding solar panels would be the comical choice.

  4. maria Says:

    I looked into solar panels just because it’s the right thing to do. It’s like anything: in five years you will be five years older no matter what you do. Might as well do the right thing. I just wish I could afford it. I agree, if Berkeley can do it, so can we.

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