Legislation clearing the way for California cities and counties to provide upfront financing for solar projects and energy efficiency installations on businesses and homes in exchange for property tax assessments was signed July 22. AB 811 authored by Assemblymember Lloyd Levine (D-Van Nuys) aims to offset the high cost of rooftop solar panels, solar hot water systems, and efficiency measures for businesses and home owners interested in curbing fossil fuel use. \u201cThis legislation is a win-win situation because in the end, homeowners will have solar energy coming into their homes for free, the value of the house improves and so does the environment,\u201d stated Levine. AB 811 is aimed at Wall Street financiers who want city loan repayments tied to a dedicated rate stream. The new law also eliminates possible challenges to municipalities\u2019 authority to enact property assessments, in particular, that of general law cities. These have more limited authority than charter cities. Numerous cities, including Berkeley, Santa Monica, San Jose and Palmdale, plan to offer upfront, low-interest financing in exchange for multi-year property assessments of participating property owners. Berkeley is leading the way, hoping to launch a pilot project after reaching agreements on loan interest rates this summer. Other legislation signed into law by the governor this week includes a measure that attempts to end the clash between solar energy system owners and those who own shade trees. SB 1399, by Senator Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto) overrides legislation that prevents trees from shading solar systems. It allows vegetation planted before installation of solar systems to remain standing.