Chapter 12.26


12.26.010    Purpose.

12.26.020    Findings.

12.26.030    Definitions.

12.26.040    Regulation of solar leasing operations.

12.26.010 Purpose.

It is the purpose and intent of this chapter to establish a municipal solar utility within Santa Cruz County in order to facilitate the direct leasing of solar energy systems and to establish regulatory authority for any solar leasing operation that may be conducted through said municipal solar utility. [Ord. 3347 § 1, 1982].

12.26.020 Findings.

(A)    Electrical and natural gas energy used to heat residential structures is essential to the health, safety and welfare of the community. Since the 1973 oil crisis, the United States has faced rising prices and uncertain supplies of energy. This uncertainty results in an increasing economic burden on the citizens of Santa Cruz County.

(B)    Solar energy has been found to be an inexhaustible, reliable and nonpolluting energy resource which can contribute to the public health, safety and welfare of the citizens of Santa Cruz County by lessening dependence upon nonrenewable and imported sources of energy.

(C)    The high initial cost of purchasing and installing a solar energy system is a major barrier to expanded solar energy use. Leasing of solar energy systems has proven to be an effective way of addressing this economic barrier, and may be an attractive alternative to ownership for many consumers.

(D)    Section 17052.5 of the State Revenue and Taxation Code restricts eligibility for the 55 percent California solar tax credit for leased systems to lessors granted a permit from a municipal solar utility program established by ordinance prior to January 1, 1983.

(E)    The establishment of a municipal solar utility program can increase public awareness of solar energy alternatives and can increase consumer protection for solar energy system users. These advantages will increase the use of solar energy in Santa Cruz County. [Ord. 3347 § 1, 1982].

12.26.030 Definitions.

(A)    “Lease arrangement installer” or “installer” means any person, properly licensed under the provisions of the California contractors license law, including any solar specialty license, installing, removing or servicing solar energy systems subject to a lease arrangement.

(B)    “Lease arrangement marketing company” or “leasing company” means any person advertising, marketing, placing and arranging, pursuant to a lease agreement, for installation and servicing of solar energy systems for a fee.

(C)    “Lessee” means any person leasing a solar energy system on or affixed to the real property owned or occupied by such person.

(D)    “Management company” means any person serving as agent of an investor for purposes of collecting leasehold payments, making payments for obligations incurred in lease arrangements, and maintaining accounting records of collections and payments for solar energy systems.

(E)    “Municipal solar utility (MSU)” means any program conducted by a local government or its authorized agent to promote the utilization of renewable energy and energy conservation technologies through educational, consumer protection, or financial assistance programs.

(F)    “Solar energy system” means the use of solar devices for the individual function of:

(1)    Domestic, recreational, therapeutic, or service water heating;

(2)    Space conditioning;

(3)    Production of electricity;

(4)    Process heat;

(5)    Solar mechanical energy; and

(6)    Wind energy for the production of electricity or mechanical work.

The term “solar energy system” includes, but is not limited to, passive thermal systems, semipassive thermal systems, active thermal systems, photovoltaic systems and wind-driven systems.

(G)    “Tax incentives” means California or Federal investment tax credits, solar tax credits, accelerated depreciation, tax deferral and other tax benefits accruing through the leasehold of solar energy devices under existing State and Federal tax law. [Ord. 3347 § 1, 1982].

12.26.040 Regulation of solar leasing operations.

(A)    No person shall operate as a certified solar leasing company under the municipal solar utility program of Santa Cruz County as established herein without having obtained a valid solar leasing permit. Such a permit shall authorize the conduct of solar leasing operations under the municipal solar utility program for a period of three years and shall be renewable.

(B)    After the effective date of the ordinance codified in this chapter, the Board of Supervisors shall by resolution establish all requirements for obtaining certification under the municipal solar utility program. Such requirements shall be limited to those which protect consumers against inexperienced or financially unstable solar leasing companies; substandard equipment and/or installation practices; and unfair lease arrangements.

(C)    Reasonable fees shall be determined to cover the costs of administering this chapter and may be established by resolution of the Board of Supervisors. [Ord. 3347 § 1, 1982].