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City to enter solar loan program

Submitted by on 1, February 4, 2010 – 5:50 amOne Comment

The City Council voted unanimously on Wednesday night to enter a statewide loan program that would help property owners pay for solar panels and other energy efficiency upgrades.

Alameda will join dozens of other cities in the CaliforniaFIRST program, which allows property owners in participating cities to take out low-interest loans to finance the often pricey projects. The loans are paid off through the owner’s property tax bill.

The Alameda Municipal Power folks started looking into putting together a program in 2009, but decided they wanted to wait until a regional program was available. The city and AMP will split the cost of the program, which will be between $9,250 and $12,500 depending on the number of Alameda County cities that participate, Deputy City Manager Lisa Goldman said – though the city will also sign on to a grant application to cover that amount.

The City of Berkeley pioneered the program, starting in November 2008. A handful of other cities and counties like Sonoma County and the City of Palm Desert have started up their own programs.

Meanwhile, the council voted to forward a request for regional park bond money that includes cash for the Boys & Girls Club of Alameda’s new facility, a new play structure at Tillman Park and a new community center and other improvements at Krusi Park.

The council voted unanimously to forward the two park requests but split on the Boys & Girls Club request 3-2, with Councilman Frank Matarrese and Vice Mayor Doug deHaan casting the two “no” votes.

A handful of open space advocates turned out to reiterate their opposition to the Boys & Girls Club request, saying they didn’t think it was a proper use of the city’s Measure WW regional park bond money.

Applications are due in to the East Bay Regional Parks District in March.

One Comment »

  • Pat Colburn says:

    It is vital that Alameda/AMP require an energy evaluation and remediation before

    a homeowner gets solar panels.

    Our homes emit more green house gases and use more energy than all our cars.

    Retrofitting our homes to be more energy efficient will not only help the planet.

    Our comfort and indoor air quality will be improved as well.

    Afterall, it would be foolish to "pour expensive fuel down a leaky tank".

    Making our homes energy efficient is the MOST COST EFFECTIVE think we can do.

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