San Francisco Working on Ambitious Solar Plan, Rebates and Loans for Solar Installations

The city of San Francisco is working on a groundbreaking new solar energy initiative, working on adding a combo of loans and rebates that would make installing solar panels a cheaper and more attractive option for local residents. Under the proposed plan, businesses would be eligible for rebates of up to $10,000 while residents would be eligible for $3,000 to $5,000 discounts off the cost of installing panels.

The goal is to bring the number of solar installations up from 660 to 10,000 citywide over the course of the next 10 years. So what would it cost for you to go solar under the initiative?

For a typical homeowner in San Francisco, installing a 3-kilowatt, rooftop solar electric system costs $24,000, according to Barry Cinnamon, president of the California Solar Energy Industries Association. Between a $4,000 city rebate, a similar $7,000 refund available through the state and a federal tax credit of $2,000, they would be able to get the price down to $11,000, Cinnamon said.

If that amount were underwritten through a city-backed loan, the costs would be spread out over time and eventually recouped in under a decade through lower electricity bills, he said.

The plan needs to be approved by both voters and the city Board of Supervisors, but if all goes well it should be up and running by this summer. If this initiative works out, look for similar plans to be enacted by other large, hippie-filled cities. [CNN]