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San Diego's Revolutionary Solar Plan

Do you live in San Diego, CA and want to buy a solar panel system but just don’t have the cash? Congratulations, it’s your lucky day–or rather, it will be your lucky day beginning in July. That’s when a revolutionary program goes into effect that allows residents to pay for solar panels through property tax bills over a period of 20 years. San Diego’s privately financed loans will carry a fixed interest rate and can be transferred when a property is sold–so residents don’t have to worry about investing hard-earned cash in solar panels only to leave them behind in a move. City officials predict that a few hundred homeowners will sign up by Fall 2009, with thousands more following soon after.

“By offering these financing options, . . . (San Diego) is putting solar power in the same paradigm as your current utility bills, where you are basically paying a little bit each month,” said Monique Hanis, spokeswoman for the Solar Energy Industries Association. “This is a great recipe for opening the doors for way more installations.”

The program is made possible by California’s AB 811 law, which allows loan programs to pay back investments in renewable energy systems through property tax payments. Berkeley and Palm Desert already have programs that take advantage of the law, but San Diego’s will be the largest. My question: why isn’t *every* city in California taking advantage of this?

Group solar purchasing program 1 Block Off the Grid (1BOG) is currently running a campaign to lower the cost of residential solar energy in San Diego. 1BOG has also signed a $100 million deal with SunRun to provide solar financing.

Disclaimer: Both 1BOG and GO Media are owned by Virgance.


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Written By

was formerly the editor of CleanTechnica and is a senior editor at Co.Exist. She has contributed to SF Weekly, Popular Science, Inhabitat, Greenbiz, NBC Bay Area, GOOD Magazine, and more. A graduate of Vassar College, she has previously worked in publishing, organic farming, documentary film, and newspaper journalism. Her interests include permaculture, hiking, skiing, music, relocalization, and cob (the building material). She currently resides in San Francisco, CA.


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