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Berkeley Moves to Finance Home Solar Panels: Bright Idea?


Berkeley, CA, has grabbed attention again — this time for starting a pioneering new program to provide city-backed loans for home solar-electric systems. This week the city council approved a new tax district that allows residents to finance solar energy systems through their property taxes.

Here's how the program works: the city provides the money for the installation and materials, and homeowners are able to pay back the loan at a fixed rate over 20 years. The cost amounts to about $180 per month to be added to property tax bills to eventually pay for the $22,000 system. Officials say those who choose to stick the panels where the sun do shine will recoup that cost through lowered energy bills.

Is this a perfect way for cities to make greener technologies a reality for homeowners?

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