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Counties, Cities Sign on to Participate in California FIRST Program

Solar

The City of Oakland and San Diego County have both joined the California FIRST solar financing program, reports signonsandiego.com and SFGate.com.

The program allows property owners to spread out the cost of installing solar systems over 20 to 30 years. The program loans the property owner the money and repayment is made through a special annual tax on their property tax bill. The program is aimed at increasing the appeal of solar rooftop installation.

"This is a dream way to do solar," Oakland City Council President Jane Brunner said. "The problem with solar has always been the up-front costs. This eliminates that problem."

Additionally, the tax can be rolled over to a future owner if the home is sold, so the original homeowner isn't required to stay in the house to recoup their investment.

The program originated in Berkley, but has quickly spread, with hundreds of cities and counties participating in 17 states across the nation.

Oakland took Berkley's program even further by offering financing for other energy efficient improvements as well. Property owners can receive funding for projects ranging from $5,000 to $75,000 or 10 percent of the value of their property.

"Property owners should start to see a savings on their energy bills on day one," said Garrett Fitzgerald, Oakland's sustainability coordinator. "That's our expectation."

Read the signonsandiego.com article: http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2009/dec/09/county-oks-participation-in-solar-energy-program/

Read the SFGate article: http://articles.sfgate.com/2009-12-14/bay-area/17224383_1_property-owners-solar-panels-solar-installers



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