For more than 18 months now, California cities and counties have been empowered to offer residents and

Riverside commercial solar installation assisted by city rebate program, installed by HelioPower

Riverside commercial solar installation for Monster Media assisted by city rebate program, installed by HelioPower

 businesses a cost-effective way to install solar panels and other energy-saving measures, yet so far only two cities in the Inland Empire have taken advantage of it – Palm Desert and Yucaipa.

If that’s because too few people understand the scope and power granted them by the signing of Assembly Bill 811, they will now have the opportunity to unravel the mysteries of this program and its potential for their city.  On Feb. 9, UC Riverside will host the AB-811 Symposium, featuring guest speakers from Inland Empire city and county governments, public utilities, solar and electrical contractors.

“The city of Riverside is committed to becoming a Clean and Green city,” said Mayor Ron Loveridge, an early advocate of AB-811 and the opening speaker at the symposium. “Our goal is to increase our renewable energy sources, such as geothermal, hydro, wind and solar.”

HelioPower’s Scott Gordon, Vice President of Residential Sales will join the roster of industry experts. HelioPower has installed many projects in the Palm Desert and Inland Empire areas, including the design and installation of the first project under the Riverside Municipal commercial solar rebate program and currently works with other group buying programs. “The combination of AB811 and private enterprise promises to make the dream of solar possible for a much broader number of California property owners,” said Gordon.

The AB-811 Symposium will be held at the UC Riverside’s Highlander Union Building from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 9. The event cost of $35 includes lunch and parking.  Although the event is open the public, it’s specifically aimed at county supervisors, mayors and city council members, department heads, staff and private sector partners.

The major sponsor of  the symposium is Southern California Gas Co.; additional sponsors are the Inland Empire Labor Management Cooperation Committee, Viewpoint Green, and the Inland Empire chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council.

“AB-811 is a fantastic tool,” said Marvin Hudson of Viewpoint Green, a division of Viewpoint Financial in Redlands. “It aids local governments in the fight for economic development by putting people to work and circulating dollars.”

AB-811 grants California communities the ability to allow certain loans to residents, be repaid through assessments that appear on their property tax bills.

This idea, making solar more affordable, could result in cleaner energy, plus new jobs for solar installers.
The first step toward taking advantage of AB-811 is for a city or county to create an “contractual assessment district” within its borders. The symposium will answer such questions as: How do you create your own contractual assessment district? What components to include in your program? How to fund your program? How might you administer your program?

For more information or to register for AB-811 Symposium, contact the Inland Empire Labor Management Cooperation Committee  at (909) 307-3400.  USGBC members may attend at the discount price of $25.