OK, looks like we’re getting somewhere in understanding this new solar initiative that the mayor is touting.
I’m still enthusiastic, but it doesn’t appear to provide a completely cost-neutral way to outfit your home with some snazzy new solar panels. And there appears to be a dollop of stinky limburger cheese on this delicious apple pie.
Let’s break this down.
If you haven’t read Dave Washburn’s story today about local leaders’ hopes to cultivate a green economic revolution in San Diego, you’ll want to check it out. Washburn broke the solar panel deal down better than I had yet seen it — explaining the economics of it for a typical San Diego homeowner.
Here’s the gist:
The program, made possible by California Assembly Bill 811, allows city homeowners to finance the entire cost of installing solar panels on their homes, and allows for the up to 20-year loan to transfer along with the property when the home is sold. It makes the financing palatable to banks by allowing them to put primary liens on the homes when they loan the money for the solar panels. It will begin in the city on a test basis in September.
Such a program eliminates the two biggest hurdles facing homeowners who want their electricity provided by the sun. The first is the sizable down payment needed to purchase the systems — which can cost between $25,000 and $60,000. The second is the prospect of selling your home, but still owing on the solar panel system.
So, with available state and federal rebates totaling about $12,500, a city homeowner could purchase a $30,000 system and end up with a $17,500 loan, Laing said. Assuming a 7 percent interest rate, the monthly payment would be $135.68.
And with a solar panel system, the typical homeowner would cut his or her monthly electricity bill of $82 to about $10, Laing said. So, the homeowner would end up with a solar panel system for about $62 a month more than today’s electricity bill.
So best case scenario is that you get to lessen your carbon footprint considerably for the price of $60-$70 a month. This makes it much much easier to get into solar. But you still have to have a slightly bigger heart than wallet and so it may not necessarily be the frenzy provoker I thought it could be.