DOE to Help Communities Fund Renewables

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Since even Big Solar is now advertising for help with the huge amounts of renewable energy stimulus funds suddenly gushing forth from Steven Chu’s magnificent new DOE, it’s not surprising that local communities are also unsure on how to fund their renewable projects.

Here’s some help for them, that you might want to pass along:

Next Wednesday the DOE will run a webcast on on how to access low-cost financing using Clean Renewable Energy Bonds (CREBs) at 3:00PM EST on June 24, on “How to Use CREBs for Financing Renewable Energy Projects on Public Lands.”

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A very good example of the sort of project that would qualify for CREBs is the tax assessment municipal solar financing that Berkeley pioneered with Berkeley First this year.

This enables homeowners to simply put aside a solar payment monthly from what you would have paid PG&E, with no loan applications needed; as the payment automatically goes onto your mortgage as a tax assessment.  Since you are no longer paying the utility bill, it is a simple swap, costing you zilch. Then at the end of the year, the annual solar payment is paid as part of your property tax payment.

That was so popular that it sold out in the first nine minutes! Only the most eco legislation-savvy and determined homeowners succeeded in getting their solar roofs funded this way.

Berkeley First is rumored to be doing a new round of their municipal funding later this year, and so I am helping 1 Block off the Grid in rounding up the interested solar homeowners here in Berkeley so we can all get cheaper solar by using our mass buying power.

I had called my own city environmental department to see if my own neighboring town could also  implement Berkeley First – type solar financing using these funds, and they seemed as much in the dark about how to access the funding as me. So obviously local governments really do need this help. Even ones who have signed on to Kyoto, as mine did, apparently need this webcast how to.

Maybe you would like your own city, state, county or tribal land government to finance solar roofs in your neighborhood? Then send this how to webcast link to your state and local officials.

It doesn’t have to be solar power, obviously. If you live on rural land, wind can be a great energy source. This funding is available for all forms of renewables.


Disclaimer: Both 1BOG and GO Media (including this blog) are now owned by activism startup Virgance. But that is why I like to work for both – it is a good combo for my mission: advancing renewable energy. Read more here.

Image via Australian photographer Bill Doyle

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