Updated: Thursday, 01 Oct 2009, 6:48 PM CDT
Published : Thursday, 01 Oct 2009, 6:48 PM CDT
AUSTIN (KXAN) - For five years, Austin Energy's solar rebate program has been the incentive for more than a thousand homeowners to switch to solar.
But now the program is a victim of it's own success. The rebate fund is running out of money. This year's $5 million is already gone, and only $750,000 remain for all of 2010.
Five years ago there were four solar installers in Austin. That number has grown to 22. However, the lack of rebates could put some out of business.
Jonathan Wittenberg fled Michigan's depressed economy three years ago to form US Elemental Energy, a fledgling solar company in Austin. Business had been good, but now he's worried.
"We have three jobs we're gonna lose because of this, with $100,000 in contracts. This may be our death knell."
Austin Energy is lowering the rebate cap ceiling and tightening homeowner qualifications to stretch out the remaining money, but those moves will only help so much.