Cisco DeVries of Berkeley, California, who until recently served as the mayor's chief of staff...hit upon a brilliantly simple idea. What if, he asked, the city financed residents' solar rooftops, then levied a 20-year tax assessment on their properties to pay for it? The debt would follow the home, not the owner, and in one fell swoop, the two greatest impediments to home solar would be history.The 2 major impediments mentioned in the story are homeowner debt and American mobility. People tend to move every 7 years and the solar technology does not pay for itself in that time span.
His bosses ate it up, and Berkeley plans to roll out its new program this summer. City officials will float low-interest municipal bonds to cover the initial costs, and DeVries figures a solar setup factoring in rebates and tax deductions (which can be looked up at dsireusa.org) will cost a single-family household at least $65 a month. Once the system is paid for, the homeowner enjoys free electricity.
Reportedly, dozens of cities are looking into this idea, including San Francisco, sunny Sante Fe and Milwaukee (!). I'm going to bring this up at my next local committee meeting.
Some experts say that photovoltaic cell modules will cost 25-50% less by 2010.
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