Sunny California has passed a law that explicitly allows cities and counties to make low-interest loans to homeowners and businesses to install solar panels, high-efficiency air conditioners and other energy-saving improvements.
To make things easy, participants can pay back the loans over decades through property taxes, according to the Los Angeles Times. If a property is sold, the loan balance transfers to the next owner.
Two towns leading the charge already in this area are Berkeley (big surprise, right?) and more conservative Palm Desert, where an aging population is said to be very interested in reducing hefty air-conditioning costs.
Already, progressive California requires investor-owned utilities to get 20% of their electricity from renewable sources by 2010 and 33% by 2020. The Golden State must reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30% over projected levels, according to the 1996 Global Warming Solutions Act.
This is great news for Californians, and hopefully the good example will be adopted by other states. In recent months, Ohio, Colorado and others have passed progressive home renewable energy bills, so the trend is good.
No matter which part of the country you live in, don't forget that you have until the end of 2008 to take advantage of federal clean energy tax credits. The 30% production tax credit (PTC) provides a 1.9-cent per kilowatt-hour (kWh) benefit (up to $2,000) for the first ten years of a renewable energy project's operation.
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