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Burbank forced to halt popular solar rebate program

September 1, 2011 | 10:40 am

Burbank forced to halt popular solar rebate program
The city of Burbank is halting its popular solar rebate program for now after a huge surge in applications.

City officials said it is the first time the rebates have had to be suspended since the program began in 1999. Property owners will have to wait until next year to apply, the Burbank Leader reported.

The surge was likely due to the combination of declining costs for installing solar panels and a 30% federal tax credit that will remain available through 2016, said John Joyce, who manages the Solar Support Program at Burbank Water and Power.

Joyce estimated the average cost to install solar panels is $21,000, with about $7,000 in rebates. Coupled with a tax incentive, customers could get an additional $4,000 back, Joyce added.

That would mean an out-of-pocket cost of about $10,000, he said, noting it could take about 10 years to see that savings on the customer’s utility bill.

For the current fiscal year, $1 million was allocated for solar rebates through Burbank Water and Power, up from $900,000 the previous year.

But because of the number of solar projects approved, and an estimate of what large installations are producing, there is not enough money to accept new projects, Joyce said.

Joyce said customers interested in receiving the rebates next year should check the utility’s website in early June. Rebates are administered on a first-come, first-served basis, he said.


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-- Maria Hsin, Times Community News

Photo: The owner of the home at 1021 La Rambla Drive in Burbank was one of about 100 that took advantage of the Burbank Water and Power solar support rebate program by installing solar panels on the roof of the home. Credit: Raul Roa / Times Community News