Long Beach Community Solar Program Extended
Long Beach homeowners are so
hungry for solar power that they successfully lobbied leading installer
SolarCity to extend its Community Solar Program to February 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
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.
If 100 residents participate in SolarCity's program, Long Beach is
likely to increase its number of single-family home installations roughly
eightfold over last year. This would annually displace 150,000 pounds of
carbon dioxide -- the chief global warming gas -- which is equal to the
weight of 300 sport utility vehicles each year!
Like Barton, who will sharply lower her electric bill with solar power,
any Long Beach or Signal Hill homeowner who requests a free solar
evaluation by Feb. 29 is eligible for the Community Solar Program.
Upcoming Long Beach workshops will be held Saturday, Feb. 9, 3-4 p.m.,
at the Dana Branch Library, 3680 Atlantic Ave., 90807; and Tuesday, Feb 12,
6-7 pm, at the El Dorado Neighborhood Library, 2900 Studebaker Road, 90815.
Signal Hill seminars will be announced shortly and listed on the SolarCity
, founded in 2006 with backing from Elon Musk, co-founder of
PayPal and chairman of Tesla Motors, has held a total of 22 Community
Programs in Northern and Southern California, including programs in Malibu
and Santa Monica.
Lyndon Rive, SolarCity Founder and Chief Executive Officer, praised the
residents of Long Beach for uniting for cleaner air and noted how times
have changed since petroleum was discovered in 1921 in Signal Hill, which
eventually became one of the world's richest oil fields.
"These two communities are riding the very edge of the solar wave in
Southern California," Rive said. "This will be a watershed program for the
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