California is graced with plentiful sunshine, and much of the state has excellent conditions to reap the sun’s free energy. While getting solar panels or solar water heaters installed can be expensive, options for installation are increasing as leases and zero-down financing are becoming more widely available.
For example, the Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) offers solar leasing and power purchase agreements, in addition to incentives for purchasing a solar array. Major home improvement stores are now offering zero down financing for solar panel installations. Lots of neighbors can get together and use their buying power to score great discounts through community solar projects.
Rebates and financing options are available from many sources. To find out more about rebates and incentives from your local governments or utility, check out Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency.
What about renters and residents in multi-family housing?
Some community projects leverage federal and state tax credits to make solar accessible for residents who live in an apartment or can’t afford to purchase a system on their own.
As part of the California Solar Initiative, 7,000 residents of affordable housing benefit from solar power through California’s Multifamily Affordable Solar Housing (MASH). MASH plans to spend $108 million putting solar panels on housing for low-income communities by 2016. San Diego is home to one of the finished projects, which is already saving residents money on their electric bills and greening their electricity.
Find out how you can go solar and receive rebates from the California Solar Initiative or learn more from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (PDF).