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Resolution sets 50 MW solar power goal by 2020 and supports requirement of solar panels on new construction projects and expansion of GoSolarSF

San Francisco, CA – Board of Supervisors President David Chiu today joined a coalition of solar providers, solar industry workers and City environmental leaders in announcing "Solar Vision 2020," a resolution that would establish a citywide solar goal by 2020, support the expansion of San Francisco's GoSolarSF pilot program and move toward requiring solar installations and/or rooftop gardens on all new construction in the City. The legislation aims to fulfill San Francisco's goal of a fossil fuel-free electricity supply by 2030 and capitalize on some of San Francisco's most underutilized real estate in the City- its rooftops.

San Francisco has been a national leader in promoting renewable energy with more than 4,800 solar energy systems currently installed that are producing more than 26 megawatts (MWs) of renewable solar power. A United States solar jobs census in 2013 showed that there were nearly 4,000 solar jobs in the City and County of San Francisco alone.

"Solar Vision 2020 is the roadmap we need to reach a greenhouse gas-free electric system by 2030. Solar is not only about reducing harmful carbon emissions that significantly contribute to climate change and air pollution – it's also about creating good-paying clean energy jobs, increasing property value, and making the City more affordable for residents in the form of reduced energy bills," said Supervisor David Chiu. "Together, we as a City can continue to be a leader in the solar energy movement."

The 50MW goal has been supported by GoSolarSF, CleanPowerSF, Solar@Work, and GreenFinanceSF, and in July 2014, the San Francisco Environment Commission passed a resolution that supports the requirement of solar installations on all new construction in San Francisco.

"Doubling the total solar capacity in San Francisco to 50MW over the next five years is a bold but achievable goal," said Debbie Raphael, Director of the San Francisco Department of the Environment. "Solar Vision 2020 not only sets a target for existing rooftops in San Francisco but also helps ensure new rooftops are built to maximize their environmental potential."

While successful, the City's solar incentive program, GoSolarSF, is due to sunset in 2018.

"I am incredibly excited about Solar Vision 2020 and its benefits for the environment, for workers, and for the community," said Joshua Arce, President of the Environment Commission. "Having faced budget cuts and funding inconsistencies for years, a fully funded GoSolarSF program coupled with the City's larger goals for solar installation will re-establish San Francisco as the leader for solar in the Bay Area and uphold its reputation as a city at the forefront of the environmental movement."

Highlights of the resolution include:

  • Establishing a 50MW solar power goal for San Francisco by 2020 and a 2MW goal for existing tenant-occupied residences annually;
  • Supporting a requirement that solar panels and/or rooftop gardens be installed on all new construction or substantial retrofits where feasible and for the Department of the Environment to convene stakeholders to work on its implementation; and
  • Proposing permanent funding to GoSolarSF of $5 million annually after the program's previously allotted funding expires in 2018.

The solar industry employs a diverse array of over 50,000 people in California - 20% are Latinos, 22.5% are women, 11.7% are Asian-American/Pacific Islanders, and 4% by African-Americans. Luminalt, the leading solar installer in San Francisco, has established itself as a company dedicated to rigorous workforce development and diverse local hiring.

"Solar Vision 2020 is a bold and innovative step forward for rooftop solar in San Francisco," said Jeanine Cotter, President of Luminalt. "Solar doesn't just generate clean energy on our own rooftops by reducing our dependence on fossil fuels, it generates good local jobs and keeps much needed resources in our community."

"In San Francisco, we have shown that solar is available to everyone, regardless of income level," said Jackie Flin, Executive Director of the A. Philip Randolph Institute. "All of our communities will benefit from this initiative as we strive for a cleaner San Francisco."