Friday, January 25, 2008

Cities uniting for solar power

Cities uniting for solar power

Three-year goal to triple solar-generated electricity


Sonoma County cities are coming together on a joint effort to nearly triple solar-generated electricity in three years, following Sebastopol's lead on alternative energy.

Solar Sebastopol, an effort begun five years ago, has been called a model for Solar Sonoma County, a new group comprised of city and county governments.

The aim is to make it easier for residents and businesses to go solar. The group is considering an easier permit process and pointing residents to new bank loan programs that hope to offer monthly payments no higher than a homeowner's current electricity bills.

"Let's do things that can be copied elsewhere in the state," real estate investor Alan Strachan said.

Strachan and fellow investor Dennis Hunter have put together the Green Energy Loan program. Strachan has been involved in planning for the county solar effort and has four local banks involved in the program, with at least one more expressing interest.

Sebastopol officials helped obtain a $73,000 grant specifically for Solar Sonoma County. Santa Rosa is now seeking a $200,000 grant for the effort.

(Due to lame US copyright laws, the rest of this article you will have to read directly on the Press Democrat site. Just click the title and it will take you there).

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