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DeVries is the architect behind Berkeley's program. He was working as Mayor Tom Bates' chief of staff and came up with the idea of using special tax districts to sell bonds and finance solar installations. Local governments throughout the country have used special tax districts to pay for sanitation, utilities, fire services and other public services. Berkeley's program was so popular that it received all the applications it could accommodate in nine minutes. Renewable Funding, which was founded in 2008 and has 12 employees, bought the bonds issued by Berkeley. The California Legislature then passed AB811 last year to ensure that all cities and counties have the authority can finance solar installations and collect payments via property taxes. Selling bonds isn't the only way for local governments to fund their programs. Sonoma County in northern California launched its program in spring this year. It set aside $45 million from its treasury and another $70 million from the Sonoma County Water Agency to fund the programs, which are not only for solar power generation but also energy efficiency projects. Boulder County in Colorado launched its program in April this year and hired Renewable Funding to administer it. Boulder County could issue up to $40 million in bonds for the program. The CSCDA program is scheduled for deployment this fall, DeVries said. After cities and counties sign up, Renewable Funding will work with them to put the program to work. Residents and businesses should be able to start signing up in early 2010. DeVries and his staff have been analyzing the potential demand of the program. Funds could come from bonds or direct capital, he said. His firm already ha lined up the Royal Bank of Canada as one of the underwriters. Greentech Media - 08-12-09 by Ucilia Wang

“I have no doubt that we will be successful in harnessing the sun's energy... If sunbeams were weapons of war, we would have had solar energy centuries ago.� Sir George Porter quotes

Profile for Michael OConnell