San Francisco moves to require solar panels on all new buildings - Smart Energy Decisions

Distributed Generation, Solar, Sourcing Renewables  -  April 25, 2016

San Francisco passes law to require solar panels on new buildings

San Francisco recently became the first major U.S. city to require solar panels on new residential and commercial buildings. 

The city's Board of Supervisors unanimously passed legislation April 19 that had been drafted by Supervisor Scott Wiener to require solar panels be installed on new residential and commercial buildings that are under 10 stories. The law, Wiener said in news release, will help move San Francisco towards its goal of meeting 100% of the city’s electricity demand with renewable energy.

A recent study from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory revealed that installing solar panels on every roof in the U.S. could supply 39% of the nation's total power used, Computer World recently reported. The very sunny  California, according to that report, could generate 74% of its electricity through rooftop solar. 

"By increasing our use of solar power, San Francisco is once again leading the nation in the fight against climate change and the reduction of our reliance on fossil fuels,"  Wiener said. "Activating underutilized roof space is a smart and efficient way to promote the use of solar energy and improve our environment. We need to continue to pursue aggressive renewable energy policies to ensure a sustainable future for our city and our region."


Under existing state law, California's Title 24 Energy Standards require 15% of roof area on new small and mid-sized buildings to be "solar ready," which means the roof is unshaded by the proposed building itself, and free of obtrusions. The new ordinance builds on that by requiring this 15% of "solar ready" roof area to have solar actually installed.

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