California Survey Indicates Support for Renewable Energy

A survey of 300 homeowners in four large California cities indicates that demand for Renewable Energy is growing in the Golden State.

SACRAMENTO, California 2002-03-11 [SolarAccess.com] More than 50 percent of those surveyed said they would be willing to pay more for a home already equipped with solar or wind technology. The survey also found that more than 60 percent of homeowners would be more interested in a home that has a Renewable Energy system already installed versus a home that does not. Conducted for the California Energy Commission’s Renewable Energy Program by Maryland Marketing Research, Inc., the survey included homeowners in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Fresno and San Diego. “These are very promising findings about homeowners’ preferences,” said Buydown Program manager, Sandy Miller. “Residents who are considering remodeling their homes this spring should consider installing solar photovoltaics or wind turbines, depending on their site. It makes good sense financially, especially with the current rebates available through the Energy Commission.” To offset the initial cost of a renewable system, homeowners can take advantage of cash rebates available through the California Energy Commission. The Buydown Program offers residents $4.50 per watt or up to 50 percent of the total eligible system cost, whichever is less. “Funds are available on a first come, first serve basis until exhausted,” said Miller. As of February 2002, there is still almost $20 million available to Californians who install small solar or wind systems (10 kWh or less) in their homes. The benefits of installing a Renewable Energy system extend far beyond initial financial assistance from the state. Current trends also indicate that installing solar or wind technology is likely to build home equity and even improve resale value. Barbara Zeidman, director of the Los Angeles Partnership Office for Fannie Mae, the nation’s largest source of financing for home mortgages, sites the Village Green development in Sylmar as an example of how cost-effective renewable systems can be for homeowners. Village Green is a 116-home, highly energy-efficient development built in partnership with Fannie Mae that uses solar photovoltaic panels in addition to other energy-efficient technologies. “The average Village Green resident pays $20 per month in utility bills compared to the average bill of $200 per month for other Sylmar residents — even their neighbors across the street. This significant savings is attributed to the energy efficiency of the development, featuring solar photovoltaic cells in the roofing system alongside other energy-efficient technologies,” says Zeidman. “These systems provide tremendous benefits. In Village Green, resale values have gone up and the residents’ reduced monthly bills are proof positive that these types of systems make a genuine difference to their pocketbooks.” For residents living in eligible local publicly-owned electric utility districts like Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) or Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) there is $8 million available through the Buydown Program for small solar or wind systems (10 kWh or less). Homeowners in those areas can contact the California Energy Commission’s Renewable Energy Program for information.
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