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L.A.'s new solar panel rebates spark debate

August 27, 2011 |  5:59 am

Solar panels

Solar panel rebates as cocktail party conversation? OK, perhaps sustainable energy is not the chitchat starter that foxtails in dogs or the  Season 4 of "True Blood" might be. But in Southern California, arguably the nation's capital for home solar panels, a new rebate system is an interesting debate.

Should government offer rebates to encourage residents to install solar panels, shift to a sustainable energy and possibly reduce the need to build more expensive power plants? What if that rebate money is coming out of the pockets of you, the typical consumer? Should the rebates be bigger? Smaller? Nonexistent?

As Los Angeles rolls out its revised solar rebate program on Sept. 1, we try to answer some basic questions: What do the new rebates mean for homeowners? For those who want to go green, what will the new out-of-pocket expenses look like? And potentially most important, how will the new rebates affect the ability of residents in Los Angeles and beyond to lease panels instead of buy them -- a popular way to get solar installed with minimal up-front costs? Times staff writer Susan Carpenter provides the answers. Article: In L.A., a new landscape for solar power

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