Solar Energy Plan Lights Up Southern California City

A Southern California city is offering homeowners what its mayor calls "a landmark opportunity" to get affordable solar energy. Is this a tipping point for the implementation of solar power?

This week the Lancaster City Council unanimously passed a plan to partner with a solar energy company in offering residents a program to lease solar panels -- with the guarantee that homeowners will save on their monthly electric bills. The company, SolarCity, is a Northern California-based enterprise that's already worked with Beaverton, Ore., and Phoenix on similar plans. What's unique about the Lancaster program SolarCity spokesman Jonathan Bass told HousingWatch, is the scope of the project.

Aside from a conversion of city-owned buildings (which is expected to save the city money over the long term), Bass says that Lancaster's renewable energy program will include businesses, nonprofits and average homeowners. (Pictured is a recent SolarCity installation at a Lancaster assisted-living complex.) In this high desert community in northeastern Los Angeles County, where heating and cooling needs can be as lofty as the elevation, the average homeowner can be confronted with triple-digit electric bills.