Monday, December 14, 2009

Oakland Goes Solar, Too

by Robert Gammon
Mon, Dec 14, 2009 at 10:48 AM

The Oakland City Council’s recent approval of long-term financing for solar power is making it much easier for homeowners to go green. The Chron reports that the council unanimously voted to join California First, a state plan based on Berkeley’s innovative solar financing model. California First allows homeowners to purchase and install solar panels, and then pay it back on their property taxes over a 20- to 30-year period at low interest rates. City leaders hope that the new plan will lead to the widespread adoption of solar power throughout Oakland.

Under the plan, which gets underway in June, homeowners enroll in the program, and then California First selects a solar contractor who does the work. The contractors are paid up front by California First, and then the bill goes on the homeowner’s property taxes. The property tax payments stay with the property even if it is sold. That should provide an extra incentive for homeowners who are concerned about personally forking over $15,000 to $20,000 for a solar installation, and then having to keep paying for it even after they move.

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