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City Manager's Office
City Manager's Office
Press Contact: Neal DeSnoo, Energy Program Officer, Office of Energy and Sustainability, (510) 981-7439

Free Solar Services Offered to Public

Berkeley, California (Monday, April 27, 2009) - Berkeley residents and businesses can now get free solar energy consulting services from the City of Berkeley and Community Energy Services Corporation.  

The new program, SmartSolar, will help consumers understand and adopt energy efficiency and solar technologies by providing information on available technology, project planning, cost, and financing; an online solar mapping tool to estimate their building's solar potential; and free, project-specific advice on how to best utilize that potential.

In 2006 Berkeley voters overwhelmingly supported an 80 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. To assist in meeting this goal, the City of Berkeley is assisting Berkeley property owners to implement energy efficiency measures for their homes and businesses, and install solar hot water and photovoltaic panels when possible. The City's work to promote this solar deployment is a result of Berkeley's designation as a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Solar America City. Through the Solar America Cities program, the DOE is partnering with 25 U.S. cities to accelerate adoption of solar technologies. 

As part of this effort, a recent survey of the potential Berkeley solar market revealed that consumers are often overwhelmed by the research necessary to make the best technology choice for their needs and are unsure of how to meet the costs of such a project. To address this need, SmartSolar will provide solar-based consumer education through community events and workshops in addition to its information resources and free project-specific advice. 

"The Smart Solar program provides Berkeley residents and businesses valuable information on how to join the renewable energy movement," said Dan Marks, City of Berkeley Planning and Development Director.

The online solar map, www.cityofberkeley.info/solarmap is an important educational outreach resource designed by CH2M HILL that will help residents and businesses reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. The solar map identifies all the existing solar PV installations in Berkeley, as well as allowing residents and business owners to instantly assess the solar PV potential of their homes and places of business. Building owners in Berkeley can log on, view their rooftops, calculate the available square footage for panels, get an estimate of the potential electricity and natural gas savings, and get detailed information on tax rebates available for solar installations. The solar map accurately reflects elements such as rooftop structures, the slant of the roof, and shading from obstructions, and takes into account the angle of the sun for PV panel placement.

City residents and businesses interested in learning more about SmartSolar resources and services should contact Community Energy Services Corporation (510-981-7750 or smartsolar@ebenergy.org).

About The City of Berkeley's Climate Action Plan
In November 2006, 81 percent of Berkeley voters endorsed ballot Measure G, which established an aggressive Greenhouse Gas (GHG) reduction target of 80 percent by 2050 and directed the City to develop a plan for achieving that target. The Berkeley City Council will discuss the Berkeley Climate Action Plan again on May 5, 2009.  More information at www.cityofberkeley.info/sustainable or www.berkeleyclimateaction.org.

About Solar America Cities
Solar America Cities is a partnership program of the U.S. Department of Energy that provides financial and technical assistance to 25 U.S. cities committed to accelerating the adoption of solar energy technologies.  More information at: www.solaramericacities.energy.gov.

About Community Energy Services Corporation
The Community Energy Services Corporation (CESC) is dedicated to building sustainable communities in the greater Bay Area through innovative and hands-on energy and building improvement programs.  A 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and licensed general contractor, CESC works in partnership with cities, counties and utility companies to provide these services in underserved and vulnerable communities.  More information at: www.ebenergy.org/smartsolar.


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