Financing Solar Power

Berkeley, CA was one of the first cities to use special utility districts to fund the switch to solar power in their community. Now the man behind the plan is trying to make the financing system national.

"Cisco DeVries wanted to outfit his home with solar power, but he wasn't sure the costly installation would pencil out. So the Oakland resident put together a spreadsheet, analyzing his last three years of PG&E bills. He soon realized it wasn't going to work financially. "Screw this," he thought to himself. But then he had an epiphany.

At the time, DeVries was the chief of staff to Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates. In 2006, Bates had helped spearhead the passage of Measure G, a city ordinance which set some of the most aggressive targets for reducing greenhouse gases in the nation. Bates made DeVries the point person in his office for coming up with innovative ways to meet Measure G's goals. Then DeVries had an idea about solar power.

The city was working on an underground utility district for a neighborhood, and DeVries thought that the same concept could be applied to solar installations. Such utility districts are common throughout the state. They allow neighborhoods to form a taxing district and sell bonds that pay for putting the utilities underground. Then the neighborhood residents pay off the bonds by paying extra taxes on their annual property bills.

It was simple, and DeVries thought the same could be done with solar installations."

Full Story: Will Berkeley's Solar Plan Go Viral?


Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $245
AICP CTP Storefont Display

The first online AICP* CTP exam prep class

Are you ready to take the AICP* Certified Transportation Planner exam?
Priced at $245 for May exam!
Wood necklace with city map

City Necklaces

These sweet pendants are engraved on a cedar charm with a mini map of selected cities. The perfect gift for friends and family or yourself!
T-shirt with map of Chicago

Show your city pride

Men's Ultrasoft CityFabric© tees. Six cities available.