Normally, we live for the present. We’re not about events, deals, and projects that will hopefully start sometime in the future. We’re not big fans of Chevrolet announcing that in three years they plan to unveil the electric powered car the Volt. That’s great; in three years one of us may plan to get married or buy Microsoft. Maybe we should announce that now. That being said, the neighboring Bay Area counties (San Francisco, Marin and Berkeley) recently concocted plans to offer rebates of up to $5,000 for installing solar panels if homeowners use a local contractor. Coupled with state and federal incentives, that could cut in half the $21,000 cost for an average household. Because San Francisco knows that it’s not just about solar, the City will also cover up to 90 percent of the costs of making apartment buildings more energy-efficient, and will pay residents $150 to replace old appliances.
Those crazy green radicals in neighboring Berkeley will finance the cost of solar panels for homeowners who agree to pay the money back through a 20-year property tax assessment. Nearby Marin County offers a $500 rebate to homeowners who install solar systems.
For those who think that these rebate ideas only reside on the West Coast should know that Baltimore offers at least $2,000 toward closing costs for people who buy new homes close to where they work. They call the program the “Live Near Your Work” program. Pretty crazy, huh?
As for San Francisco’s program, the loan part of the program would need to be approved by voters as a ballot initiative, while the refund part would need the support of the Board of Supervisors, San Francisco’s never shy for publicity city council. If this program succeeds then we’ll give them all the Green pub that they can handle.