I think it’s too early to tell. AB (Assembly Bill) 811 was passed by the California legislature and signed into law by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on July 21, 2008. The bill authorized California municipalities to develop programs to finance installation of solar energy systems in private homes, resulting in energy savings. Because the bill was essentially the starting gun for local processes all over the state, it’s not as if these programs are going to spring up overnight, and there’s not a lot of data out there yet on how many people have begun taking advantage of them, although every city in California that initiates an AB811 program seems eager to publicize the fact that they’ve done so. Palm Desert was the first municipality to get an AB811 program up and running. Through it, residents can get a loan, starting at $5,000 and with about 7% interest (amortized over 20 years) to do a solar upgrade on their home. It is offering this program in conjunction with a company that installs solar panels. Excellent idea, but the jury is still out on whether it will be a widely successful program, or whether it will be able to take a significant bite out of California’s very serious energy problems.
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