There were limits to how green Bruce Letvin was willing to go. For years, the 53-year-old anatomy professor had wanted to install solar panels on his Manhattan Beach, Calif., home. But the up-front installation costs always outweighed the benefits for the environment and his conscience. This spring, however, he managed to work out green financing with the help of solar company SunPower. After determining that his electricity bills and roof exposure were large enough to make him a good candidate for its solar panels, the company, based in San Jose, Calif., helped him find a 15-year loan for the $64,500 system. Yes, his $550 loan payment is more than the $300 or so he used to spend each month on electricity bills--so far, he has generated enough solar power that he doesn't need to take any juice from the grid--but after he pays off the loan, his power will be free. And this year, he'll get a $16,000 rebate in the form of federal and state tax incentives for solar. "I really wouldn't have been able to do this without the financing," he says. "But with [the loan], it's a no-brainer."
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