Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Berkeley Solar Update

As an update to yesterday's post about Getting Started Going Green in the East Bay, the City of Berkeley has just made it a lot easier and more affordable to add solar power to your home. Here are the details.

Basically, the Berkeley City Council has approved a financing plan in which the City will pay for the installation of solar panels to a home, and the homeowner will pay the City back over 20 years. Even better, the homeowner reaps all the benefits, from tax credits and incentives to lower energy costs. You might even be able to sell your excess generated energy back to the grid and make some money.

This is terrific news, as the up-front costs of going solar can be prohibitive, despite the long-term benefits.

Here are the highlights of the plan, according to

-- Property owners would hire a city-approved contractor who would be paid for the system and its installation, minus rebates.

-- The city would tax the property owner for the remaining cost, to be paid over 20 years. Future owners of the property would inherit any unpaid tax, along with the solar system.

-- Property owners would save as much in energy costs as they would be paying in taxes while reducing the amount of greenhouse gases created by generating electricity using natural gas and hydroelectric generation.

Now, this new plan is not effective immediately. The City will now spend the next 6 months or so working out the nitty gritty details. But, stay tuned, and get ready to Go Solar!

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