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Press Contact: Neal DeSnoo, Energy Program Officer, (510) 981-7439

City of Berkeley receives over 100k from the U.S. Department of Energy to encourage solar locally

Berkeley, California (Monday, November 02, 2009) - The City of Berkeley is one of sixteen cities nationwide to be granted the Solar America Cities Special Project Award for the purpose of spurring the adoption of solar installations.  The economic stimulus funding from the United States Department of Energy (DOE) allows the City of Berkeley to support and enhance two existing programs--SmartSolar and the online Berkeley Solar Map-- to provide education and technical assistance directly to residents interested in implementing solar at their homes and businesses.  Through this award, the City of Berkeley is recognized for its innovative response to addressing the specific barriers to solar adoption and for its leadership in increasing the use of renewable energy. 


The City of Berkeley will split the $108,500 award between the SmartSolar and Berkeley Solar Map projects.  SmartSolar is a program of the nonprofit Community Energy Services Corporation (www.ebenergy.org).  SmartSolar provides free energy efficiency and solar advising to Berkeley property owners and consults with its clients throughout their consideration and installation of energy projects.  In its first year SmartSolar has provided over 35 homes and businesses with site-specific analysis of whether and which energy efficiency and solar upgrades may be good investments.  Starting in 2010, SmartSolar will be expanded to serve other local cities in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties.  The funding will be used to grow the SmartSolar program into a sustainable, replicable and scaleable program that can help leverage large-scale solar adoption in the residential and commercial sectors throughout the East Bay. 


Additionally, the grant funding will go to improve the Berkeley Solar Map (www.cityofberkeley.info/solarmap).  Changes include a new interface between the online Solar Map and an economic calculator which will allow users to quickly compute the cost and cost savings of installing solar photovoltaic (PV) and solar thermal systems. The interactive map enables users to view existing solar installations and to calculate the benefits of going solar by determining the potential size and cost for a system on any rooftop in Berkeley. The Solar Map, which was launched in early summer, has received nearly 1,000 visitors to the website. The Solar Map software is designed by CH2M Hill.

Each of these programs builds upon Berkeley’s commitment to educating and engaging local residents in how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by focusing on efficiency measures and solar energy.  Both the SmartSolar and Berkeley Solar Map are programs of Berkeley Climate Action Plan which can be viewed at www.berkeleyclimateaction.org.


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