The San Francisco California Board of Supervisors voted unanimously on Tuesday to approve the "Better Roofs Ordinance" that will require new construction in the city to install solar energy systems on the roof. The new ordinance includes requirements for both residential solar power systems and commercial solar power systems, including either photovoltaic electric or solar hot water systems, or both.
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors is voting on an ambitious bill to put solar power systems on most all new rooftops in the city that have the appropriate site requirements. The bill is sponsored by Supervisor Scott Wiener and is called the "Better Roofs Ordinance", which if passed would make San Francisco a leading city in the country requiring rooftop solar.
Growth in green jobs has stalled in the San Francisco Bay Area, a region known for its strong environmental credentials as well as for its ability to attract money and technology. Despite the news -- which comes to us via the Green Business Survey from SF Works, an green industry advocacy group -- area businesses remain optimistic the trend will improve.
One of San Francisco's most famous sites has taken the plunge: Alcatraz plans to install 1,300 solar panels. The prison turned tourist destination has a unique energy crisis, as until now it has run on two diesel generators. Fuel has to be ferried from onshore, and these generators have consumed 50,000 gallons of diesel every year.
San Francisco has reopened its solar incentive program for the 2010-11 fiscal year, according to Brighter Energy. Made possible by local city and county governments, the GoSolarSF program provides solar rebates to San Francisco residents and business owners who install solar qualifying solar energy systems. Until an announcement last week by San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, it wasn't clear that funding would be made available for the program.
California continues to establish itself as a leader in solar energy innovation and pro-solar policymaking, nationwide. Many of these efforts have taken place at the state level. Witness the passage of California bill AB 510, which boosted the state's cap on net-metering for solar power installations. But county and city governments have played a prominent role, too. Recently GetSolar has detailed the following: a 95-kilowatt photovoltaic (PV) system that helps Santa Monica's Big Blue Bus transit system offset its carbon emissions; eSolar's Suntower Plant in Lancaster, Calif., which was recognized as 2009's best renewable and sustainable project; and the California solar powerhouse that is San Diego, which boasts more rooftop solar installations than any other American city. But these stories only tell the southern half of the California solar tale.
Not In My Backyard (NIMBY) syndrome is well documented in the wind energy sector. In short, it's difficult to hide a wind turbine -- no matter what size. Nantucket property owners, for instance, have long resisted progress of the Cape Wind, a project that aims to site 130 offshore wind turbines in Nantucket Sound. While the property owners justify their opposition by emphasizing the environmental impacts of the proposed project, it's difficult to not see an element of NIMBYism in their motivations.