March 6 -- Imagine every rooftop in Santa Monica blanketed
with energy-absorbent solar panels. That day could come sooner than
With spring comes a new program whose proponents say could eventually
offer clean, renewable energy to every business and home owner in
Santa Monica by harnessing the rays of the sun.
Dubbed Solar Santa Monica, the City program focuses on bringing
50 new demonstration installations over the next two years to prove
the effectiveness of going solar.
"The City Council wants to make Santa Monica energy independent,"
said consultant Virginia Nicols of Ecomotion, hired by the City
to oversee the program.
"Many cities offer incentives...Santa Monica is unique because
they are not paying anybody,” she said. “They are putting
their umph behind market changes."
The program has already sparked the interest of scores of residents
and business owners, and the City has secured contractors to install
the first batch of solar panels on test homes in the next few weeks,
City officials are encouraging both residents and businesses to
apply for an opportunity to have the panels installed at a discount.
For those who participate, the City will also waive permit process,
City officials said.
With each solar installation in a residential home estimated to
cost between $18,000 and $20,000, homeowners will be given a choice
of fixed-price "packages" for efficiency items that work
with the solar panels.
Rebates through the State's solar program and Federal tax credits
will also help relieve the financial burden, consultants said.
"The State rebate could be as much as $5,000 to $6,000,"
The financial savings will come in the long-term, when homeowners
and businesses see a break on their utility bills. Before the panels
are installed, an evaluation will take place to ensure other energy
efficient upgrades are made.
To date, there are 68 solar electricity and solar thermal installations
perched on rooftops citywide, City officials said.
For more information call the City's Santa Monica Solar program
at call (310) 458-8229.