LA Weekly: Getting Solar for $69 a Month

The LA Weekly takes a look at Open Neighborhoods Community Solar and the journey to affordable clean energy in Los Angeles.

Leasing solar panels for your home or business was not permitted by Los Angeles DWP until recently — and has become increasingly popular as an affordable way to benefit from solar power without the upfront costs of purchasing rooftop solar installations. Solar leases also allow residents to benefit from accelerated tax-depreciation incentives available to solar leasing companies and other commercial businesses.

The leasing model is “definitely taking off,” says Ethan Elkind, a climate-change research law fellow at UCLA and Berkeley schools of law. “For most people who are living paycheck to paycheck, the leasing model has opened solar to them.”

Discounted zero-down solar leasing has been a popular and affordable option for homeowners and businesses that have participated in the Open Neighborhoods Community Solar program.

David Olds’ electricity bill used to be more than $100 a month. It’s now usually $50, plus $33 for his discounted solar panel lease. The savings have gotten him thinking about installing a wind generator. “I’d love to be as much off the grid as possible,” he says. “And if I can do it in a suburban/urban community, anyone can do it.”

The story notes that demand for leasing deals is spreading not just in L.A. but across California.

In the third quarter of this year, leasing outstripped purchases for the first time, representing 59 percent of California’s residential solar, according to industry group PV Solar Report.

The Open Neighborhoods Community Solar program is now accepting applications from LA County homeowners, businesses, and multi-family communities for participation in a One Megawatt group solar installation. Participants can request a free solar assessment of their property at www.openneighborhoods.net/gosolar — and qualify for up to 33% group discount on rooftop solar installation, or a 25% discount on a zero-down lease from leading California-based solar manufacturer SunPower.

Read more: Getting Solar for $69 a Month (LA Weekly)

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