Since there are no currently active contests, we have switched Climate CoLab to read-only mode.
Learn more at
Skip navigation
Share via:


Mineral rights exist separately from property rights, perhaps a similar distinction can separate ownership of a house its roof.



The lease which was made available by Elon Musk's SolarCity can be simplified with the introduction of a new legal concept of roof rights.

Currently customers sign a 20 year lease with SolarCity to amortize the upfront cost of the solar panels.  The risk and interest rates that SolarCity must calculate is increased by uncertainty about whether the home will be sold before the end of the lease and whether the holder of the lease will not face financial or health related peril during the lease.  Also, this would avoid costly legal battles.

To eliminate the added risk and interest rates, roof rights would allow the 20 year lease to be passed from homeowner to homeowner and thus be calculated into the value of the house.

Government should place a maximum lifespan of roof rights to prevent abuse, I suggest a limit of 20 years.

Category of the action

Mitigation/Adaptation, Changing public attitudes about climate change

What actions do you propose?

To introduce this concept, begin in one state or city with a ballot initiative.

Successes with this city/state are publicized nationwide.  Popularity of this concept is measured nationwide, then this process is repeated where it is a popular opinion.

Who will take these actions?

Solar panel manufacturers and installers.  Maybe they can gain the support of some of the money and footwork from grassroots organizations like the Green party, the Audobon society, Ciritical Mass, and maybe some political parties and political figures.

Where will these actions be taken?

During election season, in the same manner as a political campaign.  There's a party headquarters, there are volunteers, they canvas the neighborhood.  Television and newspaper ads are purchased.  Voicemail messages and email campaigns are started.

How much will emissions be reduced or sequestered vs. business as usual levels?

What are other key benefits?

What are the proposal’s costs?

  San Diego, California is the largest purchaser of residential solar power, so it will be examined as a target of this political campaign.

  A San Diego city ballot measure can cost $170,000, while a San Diego County ballot measure can cost $250,000.  A statewide California proposition can cost $500,000.

  While the potential solar profits from this measure might be worth risking $500,000, maybe this plan has a societal benefit great enough to be spearheaded by a grassroots political group, manned and funded by public donations.

Time line

Related proposals


An example lease from SolarCity:

California campaign finance:

San Diego city campaign finance example:

San Diego county campaign finance example: