Archive for November, 2007

If Berkeley can do it …

November 1, 2007

… 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.