One of the biggest recurring problems to the question “why isn’teveryone going solar and making money from the electricity theyproduce?” is that everyone thinks it’s just too expensive to go solarstill. Even with all the incentives continuing to come about, andoverall cost reductions, there still aren’t enough people going solarto make a large impact on the energy usage of the country.
Berkeley has taken a simple and yet bold stance on this problem of upfront cost. Berkeley plans to help thousands of its residents with the large upfront cost of solar installations,allowing these residents to pay back on a 20-year assessment of theirproperty. “Over two decades, the taxes would be the same or less thanwhat property owners would save on their electric bills, officialssay.” This is an excellent way to vastly reduce the upfront cost ofgoing solar for Berkeley residents, and provide a large boost in thenumber of solar powered homes in the coming years. After the predictedsuccess of this bill in Berkeley its likely going to spread to manyother cities throughout California.
This bill is quite simple; it basically adds the initial cost of theinstallation to the property tax for that house. Because it’s the statethat is providing these loans, it will be at much lower rates thanresidents would be able to get on their own. During the time theproperty tax is paid the homeowner would be receiving extra income forthe solar panel they purchased, which could help lower their electricbill, or completely cover it. In addition, all of the present rebatesand incentives would apply, which would lower the amount added to theproperty tax. And another key point is that since its been added to theproperty tax, the cost of the solar panel stays with the home, not withthe person using the panel. Because it’s an addition to the home it’sonly natural that its costs remain with that of the home itself as well.
The EPA has already announced it will back the plan by grantingBerkeley $160,000 to start implementing the plan. Even if your not aresident of Berkeley there are tons of rebates and incentives and loansout there for solar! So it’s not an excuse to say solar power istotally out of your reach! Plans like this one in Berkeley will onlyspeed up what is already happening, the expansion of the solar marketand most importantly the number of people going solar!!
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