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Berkeley Helps Residents Go Solar

Berkeley City Council approved a measure that would establish a “sustainable financing district” which gives loans to property owners in the city to install grid tied solar power systems on their homes. Property owners have the option to join a special tax district in which the resident can get a loan from the city up to ,000 to retrofit their home with solar panels.

The property owner would pay back the loan through an increase in their property taxes over 20 years. Residents would pay an extra $182 dollars a month at an interest rate of 6.75%. If electric rates continue to rise at some point the resident would saving more on their electric bill then they are paying monthly to repay the loan back through their property taxes.

This is the first city in the nation that is offering a solar financing program to their residents, its really a ground breaking achievement towards local community based solar power. Berkeley is committed to reduce the greenhouse gases the city contributes to the environment. The pilot program will involve 50 homes although the City of Berkeley is still working to find a lender to help them finance the initiative.

Cities around the globe are watching the city to see how the program plays out. I really hope Berkeley finds a lender, with the financial markets in term oil it’s going to be difficult to get a lender to participate, although on the other hand there are many investors looking to diversify their portfolios into green energy. I have to applaud the city for leading and bleeding and taking risk to push solar power into the mainstream by making it more affordable. What do you think, will they be able to raise the financing to pull off the solar energy loan program?

Author: Deep Patel

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