Bright ideas

Starting next month, it’ll cost less for Sacramento residents to install solar panels on their rooftops.

The City Council voted unanimously last week to waive all city fees on the installation of rooftop solar panels for individual homes. A typical 2 kilowatt solar project is going to run you $16,000 to $20,000. Figure in SMUD’s rebate of 25 percent and a federal tax credit of about $2,000 and you’re still looking at more than $10,000.

So, waiving $700 to $800 worth of fees might seem like a small gesture. But the new ordinance also requires the city to streamline its permitting process for new residential solar projects. Every little bit helps, said Lois Wright, SMUD government-affairs representative. “This is an excellent way for people to reduce their carbon footprint,” reduce their monthly electric bills and help take a load off the local electricity grid.

Also helpful, SMUD is offering free workshops this month for homeowners interested in solar power. The first is Wednesday August 22, from 6 to 8 p.m. The next is Saturday, August 25 from 10 a.m. to noon. Call 732-6738 or e-mail <script type="text/javascript" language="javascript"> </script> to reserve a spot in one of the free workshops.