A couple of years ago, Cisco Devries was the mayor’s chief of staff in Berkeley, California. One day he decided he wanted to get solar PV panels for his home’s roof so he could generate his own clean, green renewable energy. But he ran up against the same money wall the rest of us do – that huge up front out of pocket expense of $15,0oo-$25,000 you need to pay to get the solar.
So Cisco started looking for a better way for people to pay for solar and he started talking to other folks in Berkeley government.
Before too long they came up with the idea of creating special tax or assessment districts – just like the ones used when people have their utilities undergrounded. They created the innovative concept of selling bonds to finance loans for the solar installations and then letting property owners pay back those loans over 20 years as an assessment on their property taxes.