NUMBER OF THE WEEK: Apr. 19, 2009
Berkeley solar power world domination
An innovative plan to promote residential solar power installations gains momentum.
By Andrew Leonard
To paraphrase the former CEO of GM, Charlie Wilson, what's good for Berkeley is good for the country... In November 2007, How the World Works highlighted an innovative proposal from the Berkeley City Council to encourage residential installations of solar power panels.
The program officially started in February, with the initial forty slots "selling out" in nine minutes flat. No surprise there -- just typical Berkeley behavior.
Now comes legislation introduced by State Senator Loni Hancock (D-Oakland) that aims to make it easier for other California cities to follow Berkeley's example.
The California Chronicle reports:
The new law is necessary because, unlike Berkeley, most Californian cities are "non-charter" cities governed primarily according to state statues and don't have the authority to issue their own bonds as they see fit.
So first Berkeley, then all of California. How long before the federal government pays attention? And one other question: Who would vote against such a sensible measure? The California Senate's Local Government Committee has three Democrats and two Republicans. The lone nay vote came from Republican Sam Aanestad, who represents a rural Northern Californian district and previously was one of the five state senators who voted no on California's landmark Million Solar Roofs initiative. At least he's consistent.