According to the San Francisco Chronicle, an approved proposal by Berkeley’s City Council could pave the way for thousands of city residents to convert to solar power without property owners having to front the costs.

On Nov. 6, 2007, the council approved a proposal that would have the city underwrite the expense of the solar panels for property owners who agree to reimburse the retrofit with an assessment on their property over the next two decades. Administrative fees and interest would be included in the tax, which would remain on the home even if a change in ownership occurs because the city will secure low-interest loans and bonds. According to officials, those taxes would be commensurate to or slightly less than what property owners would save on their monthly power bills.

“This plan could be our most important contribution to fighting global warming,” said Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates. “We’ve already seen interest from all over the U.S. People really think this plan can go.”