AUSTIN (KXAN) - Mayor Lee Leffingwell announced Friday a new program that couldmake solar power more accessable to Austin homeowners.
The proposal comes from a new Texas state law that allowshomeowners to finance solar installations and other energyefficiency investments through municipal loans.
The loans would be repaid through residents' property tax billas a voluntary line item.
The proposal will be heard by city council on Thursday, October22.
In a statement, Mayor Leffingwell described the benefits.“First, homeowners would potentially be able to install solarpanels and make energy efficiency upgrades with no upfrontinvestment at all. Second, the interest rate on funds borrowed fromthe city would likely be lower than what would be available from abank, making the repayments more affordable. Third, with thebenefit of on-site solar energy and improved efficiency, thereduction in monthly home energy bills could in some cases begreater than the loan repayments, resulting in an immediate netcash positive for some homeowners.”
House Bill 1937, passed earlier this year in the StateLegislature, permits cities to create energy districts to loanhomeowners money for renewable power that would be repaid throughproperty taxes.
This proposal comes after Austin Energy's solar rebate programran out of money due to its success.
The program's $5 million for 2009 is already gone and only$750,000 is left for 2010.
Solar installation is a big business in Austin. Five yearsago there were four solar installers in Austin, there is now22.
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