Berkeley moves ahead with solar-financing program

BERKELEY, CALIFORNIA - The city of Berkeley has made a big step toward starting a pioneering program to provide city-backed loans to homeowners who install rooftop solar-electric systems.

The city council approved a new tax district that residents can join to finance solar energy systems through their property taxes.

Under the plan, the city will provide money for installation and material costs, which homeowners would pay back at a fixed rate over 20 years.

Residents would pay about $180 a month through their property tax bills for a typical $22,000 solar-electric system, but they should eventually recoup the money through lower electricity costs.

Next, Berkeley officials will select a lender to provide financing for the program. The city also plans to start holding workshops for interested homeowners.


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