February 08, 2008
Due to Overwhelming Demand Program Broadens To Signal Hill
LONG BEACH, Calif., Feb. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Long Beach homeowners are so hungry for solar power that they successfully lobbied leading installer SolarCity to extend its Community Solar Program to Feb. 29. Not to be left in the shade, Signal Hill residents are also eligible to participate.
In all 307 Long Beach and Signal Hill residents have attended free solar seminars outlining SolarCity's Community Solar Program, which enables residents and businesses who band together to purchase solar power systems at deep discounts. The residents in the program are inches away from the goal at which time the entire community will receive up to 30% off of what they would pay as if they purchased as individuals.
"The people in our community care deeply about our environment and share a vision to make a difference," said Mary Barton, one of more than two dozen residents who have already purchased installations and a champion of the local effort. "At the same time, we want to save money on our electric bills. This Community Solar Program enables us to do both."
The local acceptance of solar power reflects a nationwide trend. Residential photovoltaic installations more than quadrupled to 11,600 between 2002 and 2007, according to the Interstate Renewable Energy Council.
Still, purchasing solar power now makes the most economic sense because state rebates on the systems are rapidly declining. Federal tax credits are due to expire on Dec. 31, 2008. With both incentives in place, the return on investment is around 10 years.
In addition, the City of Long Beach announced this week that it has reduced its permitting fee by more than 20 percent for photovoltaic systems of up to 6 kilowatts. The fee is now $514.01.