The Berkeley, Calif., city council will soon vote on an innovative scheme to front the cost of solar panels to homeowners, who would pay the city back over 20 years as a property tax add-on. The amount to be paid back would be roughly what homeowners would save on electric bills by being sun-powered. “This plan could be our most important contribution to fighting global warming,” says Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates. “We’ve already seen interest from all over the U.S. People really think this plan can go.” What will those crazy hippies think of next?

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.