The first checks issued by way of the city of Berkeley’s landmark solar lending program have officially been received, marking the first of several final steps for city homeowners. Jeanne Pimentel and Aaron Mann are the first solar homeowners to receive funding under the much-hyped loan program.
Cities throughout California and around the world are keeping a close eye on Berkeley which is offering homeowners loans for solar power systems, with monthly payments embedded as part of their property taxes. In return the homeowners get cash to pay installers for their systems, in effect nullifying the nagging problem of paying high up-front costs for solar energy.
Both homeowners expect immediate savings from their solar system. For the average $22,000 solar PV system, Mann and Pimentel would pay roughly $180 per month in property tax increases. But lucrative utility rebates and government incentives bring that amount down immediately. Pimentel received a $3,000 rebate from PG&E and a $6,600 tax credit for a $20,000 solar system. Aaron Mann will receive $6,000 from PG&E and more than $13,000 in tax incentives, more than paying for his typical $350-per-month electric bill.
These two homes represent the first two of 40 Berkeley homes that will finalize their city-funded solar systems over the next few months. Immediate results will most certainly vary by home, but initially things are looking up for Berkeley’s program which sold out in just nine minutes when the application process opened last fall. The next round of funding begins later this year.
Attention is being paid from across the globe and, as Berkeley’s program unfurls over the next year, it could have a massive impact in a relatively short time. Based on the initial success, the city of Berkeley is planning to expand the financing program to include other facets of home improvement, including insulation, new windows, and more.
Source: San Francisco Chronicle