Through March 31, Santa Monica residents will have a golden opportunity to go solar, thanks to a special offer by SolarCity, in partnership with First Solar.
In October 2008, SolarCity, centered in Foster City, California, received $30 million in funding, with $25 million coming from First Solar of Tempe, Arizona. At the new year’s outset, SolarCity introduced a leasing program that CEO Lyndon Rive hopes will help economically challenged Californians to get with solar power for a breathe-easy cost.
According to Rive: “What’s really unique about this is that for the first time we are bringing thin-film solar to residential homes. It’s historically never been offered to residential customers before, but now [First Solar] is moving into this market space. The reason why they haven’t before is that they focused heavily on commercial and large utility scale.”
Thin-film panels, described by Time magazine as “one of the fifty best inventions of 2008,” are made with less expensive materials than the traditional crystalline silicon. They have been garnering attention internationally, from a large installation in Nevada, to Abu Dhabi, where they are being incorporated into the world’s first zero pollution city. First Solar Incorporated manufactures solar modules that are among the lowest in cost in the world.
“The irony,” Rive continues, “ is that thin-film products are more aesthetic than any other products out there.” He compares the appearance of the panels on a house roof to skylights and adds: “Even if they didn’t give power, they would still look good on the roof.”
Rive points out that the combination of the new federal solar tax credit with the SolarCity offer can save customers about half the price of a system. “The discount changes with the size of the system. The typical cost is about $34,000, the state rebate costs $5,500, a federal tax credit of $7,500. You add the SolarCity discount and it adds up to $17,000.”For more information, go to solarcity.com.