Sun on the Bay

Treasure Island, a man-made chunk of real estate floating enviably in the middle of San Francisco Bay, had been home to a derelict U.S. Navy base but is now being rehabbed into “a model environmentally sustainable urban community.” Amongst a whole bunch of good design elements is this:

“Building design will incorporate optimum energy efficiency and the street plan will maximize the potential for solar power. It is anticipated that during peak solar radiation periods, excess electricity generated by photovoltaic units on Treasure Island’s buildings will actually flow back into the grid to help power San Francisco.” (from this article in sfgate.com)

My fantasy is being made real… With the combination of available state and federal tax credits and rebates/incentives/energy buybacks from their utility, I wonder how much net each homeowner will have to pay? The federal tax credit for solar home installations is 30%, up to a maximum of $4000 ($2k for photovoltaics plus $2k for solar hot water).

Sad to say, this credit is offered only for 2006 and 2007 — this is one tax credit that should be made permanent, and it should include upgrades of existing solar/pv systems — currently, only new installations qualify. To encourage development and marketing of new technology, wouldn’t you want to encourage homeowners to upgrade, i.e., create ongoing demand?

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