From: , Low Impact Living, More from this Affiliate
Published December 8, 2008 09:25 AM

Get Solar Panels Without Dealing with Extra Bills

Going solar seems to get easier by the day — both logistically and financially.  Before, homeowners had to save up to pay the huge upfront cost of buying and installing solar panels. Now, would-be solar energy users don’t need to put up startup funds — nor do they even have to deal with an extra repayment bill!

The latest company making solar power accessible is Renewable Funding, a financial company with a new solar-friendly product called CityFIRST.  CityFIRST basically allows homeowners to install solar panels with no upfront cost — using a solar installer or contractor of their choice — then pay for panels over 20 years via a line item on property tax bills.

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To make this plan work, the city you live in has to work with Renewable Funding to offer this service.  Berkeley’s already signed up!  Renewable Funding works to educate and recruit city residents who want to go solar, then via “a unique bond transaction with the City,” will let those solar-friendly residents pay for solar panels incrementally on their property tax bills.  In many cases, the utility bill savings from the solar installation will be enough to recoup most of the installment payment for the solar panels themselves.

As evidenced by Berkeley’s embrace of this new financing strategy for solar power, solar energy’s especially popular in California.  The NorCal Solar Energy Association, a nonprofit, solar education group, recently released a study showing that Californians purchased more than $2.1 billion in solar electric technology between 1998-2007.  The trend’s even more noticeable if you look specifically at Northern California.  As The NorCal Solar Energy Association observes: “In the Bay Area, there are 11,563 solar projects - built at a cost of $746 million – producing more than 84 megawatts of electricity according to the new report that includes all installations as of December, 31, 2007.”

Interested in solar panels?  Newbies can learn about how home solar systems work here.  Then read our posts about power-purchase agreements and new solar-friendly tax credits to find out if alternative energy’s a viable option for you. Or to find a solar installer near you, click here.

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