For Immediate Release
Press Contact: Gail Feldman, Office of Energy and Sustainability, (510) 981-7494

Berkeley’s solar financing program will have 40-project test run; residents and business owners encouraged to attend workshop, take all energy-efficiency measures

Berkeley, California (Thursday, October 09, 2008) - Berkeley property owners who are committed to energy efficiency and greenhouse gas emission reductions can now attend one of three workshops on the Berkeley FIRST (Financing Initiative for Renewable and Solar Technologies) Program.

Please attend one of the following workshops to learn more about the program requirements and application process:

Tuesday, October 14, 2008
7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
North Berkeley Senior Center 1901 Hearst Street

Thursday, October 16, 2008
7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
South Berkeley Senior Center 2939 Ellis Street

Tuesday, October 21, 2008
7:00 - 8:30 p.m.
West Berkeley Senior Center 1900 Sixth Street

On September 23, 2008, the Berkeley City Council approved the Berkeley FIRST Program to create a Sustainable Energy Financing District as a citywide special tax district. The district enables property owners to borrow funds to install solar electric panels and to pay for the improvements over 20 years through a special tax levy on their property bills. The tax will only be paid by Berkeley property owners who voluntarily participate in the Berkeley FIRST program.

The FIRST pilot program will initially fund 40 installations and provide financing of up to $37,500 per installation. In order to be eligible to participate, please make sure that your property is solar-ready by getting started on the following program requirements:

1. Review Berkeley’s Residential or Commercial Energy Conservation Ordinance (RECO/CECO) on energy efficiency measures. These measures will reduce your energy consumption and thereby ensure your solar project will be smaller and less expensive. Properties will need to comply with RECO/CECO prior to receiving any funding disbursement from the City of Berkeley.

2. Get several quotes from installers for your solar project and review  program requirements for the California Solar Initiative. The California Solar Initiative (CSI) has a list of approved solar PV installers on their website:

Whether you decide to go solar or not, making sure that your house or business is energy efficient is critical. The City has several programs to help residents save money and energy, and can refer residents to many others. There are additional resources available for low-income households.

Visit to subscribe to receive program updates, email questions to, or call the Energy and Sustainability Division at 981-7400.