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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?


Join The Conversation
Angela123 Angela123 8 years
I think it's an absolutely great idea...hopefully it is successful and the concept spreads to other sunny locales.
Mesayme Mesayme 8 years
"This project was funded by the National Science Foundation and by the Chesonis Family Foundation, which gave MIT $10 million this spring to launch the Solar Revolution Project, with a goal to make the large scale deployment of solar energy within 10 years." Imagine what they could do with some of that BUSH GOP RAISED MONEY! *sigh*
Mesayme Mesayme 8 years
Pink this is for you- "In a revolutionary leap that could transform solar power from a marginal, boutique alternative into a mainstream energy source, MIT researchers have overcome a major barrier to large-scale solar power: storing energy for use when the sun doesn't shine." It's very long...see link! www web mit edu/newsoffice/2008/oxygen-0731 html (replace spaces with dots..they hate links..takes to long to post!)
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
It heated up a neighbor's pool very well here also. But do they generate enough electricity to be worth the cost?
Vespa Vespa 8 years
Based on the headline, I thought the city was going to pay for them. A loan seems like a much better idea, imo.
pinkmystic pinkmystic 8 years
If only there were enough sun in New York:(...
yesteryear yesteryear 8 years
i wish i owned a house so i could get in on this, it's a great idea. berkeley's doing the right thing.
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 8 years
All I know is they heat up my pool pretty darn well :)
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
How effective are solar panels now? I had heard that they weren't cost effective in the 70's which is why they didn't catch on. Hopefully the technology has improved enough to make them more cost effective.
Mesayme Mesayme 8 years
ahh...duh...about time, solar has been around for ages. Most just blew it off as 'ugly' or too much trouble. (okay they were huge and ugly BUT useful) It's like you never miss the running water until there's a storm and they shut it off! mi-ser-a-ble... I don't want them to keep waiting until my electric bill rates goes up another 6% next year!
MartiniLush MartiniLush 8 years
This is such a great idea!
hanako66 hanako66 8 years
I think that it is a great idea! The city will (albeit slowly) profit from the interest. We would never have this opportunity in Southern California....I can not picture Orange, Riverside or LA counties getting involved in something like this.
dreamsugar dreamsugar 8 years
:cheer: -- great start!!
Adrenalynn75 Adrenalynn75 8 years
I wish Arizona would jump on this! This is a excellent idea and one I'd jump on in a heartbeat.
girlA girlA 8 years
Unfortunately, it proved to be successful years and years ago, but priorities shifted and we lost out on something great.
lovelie lovelie 8 years
What an interesting's nice to see communities proactively working for alternative methods of energy. If it proves to be successful I'm sure it will start to catch on other places.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 8 years
ExactOmundo! girlA All of these so called alternative technologies we know today would be old hat by now. This is precisely why we have to learn to read our History. Our misturns in the yesteryear's will guide a clear path to the future but for whatever reason we collectively ignore the obvious.
girlA girlA 8 years
This should have been done decades ago! My mom was telling me that in the '70s this started to become popular because of the energy crisis then and once things started to bounce back, the efforts stopped. It's too bad. Things would be different now if efforts continued back then.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 8 years
Well I think perfection is yet to be seen but the plan quite a bright idea.
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
I'm sure there will be lots of glitches along the way, as with any new program like this, but I think overall it's an excellent idea. I think the financial aspect of greening one's home is a large part of the reason many people don't, even when they're aware of the ultimate benefit.
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