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San Francisco Makes Sweeping Solar Reform

Solar panel installation

As a roofing company in South San Francisco who does solar installation, we’re well versed in the positive aspects of home solar technology. The homeowners who work with us on solar projects are always excited about renewable energy, and about their chance to help in the fight against climate change.

Solar power is catching on with more and more people in San Francisco.

Need some proof?

Starting next January, San Francisco is requiring all new buildings under 10-stories tall to add solar panels.

This ordinance was passed unanimously by the city’s Board of Supervisors, and is the first legislation of its kind for a major US city.

So, yes. Solar power is catching on.

Be Prepared

This new solar ordinance is one step in city supervisor Scott Weiner’s goal of making San Francisco’s electrical needs fully met by 100% renewable energy.

NPR quotes Weiner as saying:

“Activating underutilized roof space is a smart and efficient way to promote the use of solar energy and improve our environment,” he says. “We need to continue to pursue aggressive renewable energy policies to ensure a sustainable future for our city and our region.”

This new ordinance will work with an existing state law that requires all new buildings of a certain size make at least part of their roofs solar power-friendly.

New construction is limited in San Francisco is limited, but requiring more renewable energy sources on new buildings lines up perfectly with San Francisco’s values and the city’s dedication to protecting the environment.

According to CNN Money:

“Adding solar panels can add up to $25,000 to the cost of a new single-family home… Much of that cost is offset by a number of incentives, including a 30% tax credit. Solar power is also an investment that will pay for itself in time.”

It’s the first major U.S. city to have such a requirement, according to Scott Weiner, the city supervisor who introduced the bill.

The ordinance, which was passed unanimously by the city’s Board of Supervisors, builds on an existing California law requiring new buildings to set aside 15 percent of the roof as “solar ready” — clear and unshaded. That law applies to residential and commercial buildings 10 stories or shorter.

Now, instead of just preparing the roof for solar panels, such buildings would need to actually install some form of solar energy — either electricity-generating panels or solar heating units.

It’s a step toward San Francisco’s goal of meeting the city’s electrical demands with 100 percent renewable energy, Wiener notes in his statement.

“Activating underutilized roof space is a smart and efficient way to promote the use of solar energy and improve our environment,” he says. “We need to continue to pursue aggressive renewable energy policies to ensure a sustainable future for our city and our region.”

From the legislation itself:

“As a coastal city located on the tip of a peninsula, San Francisco is vulnerable to sea level rise, and human activities releasing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere cause increases in worldwide average temperature, which contribute to melting of glaciers and thermal expansion of ocean water — resulting in rising sea levels.

San Francisco is already experiencing the repercussions of excessive CO2 emissions as rising sea levels threaten the City’s shoreline and infrastructure, have caused significant erosion, increased impacts to infrastructure during extreme tides, and have caused the City to expend funds to modify the sewer system.”

This is big news for San Francisco residents, most of whom are concerned about climate change. Many citizens are reluctant to endorse new developments, as well. But with this legislation in place, new developments will contribute to the city’s power grid and contribute to our goal of running entirely on renewable energy.

We Know Solar

If you’re looking to new construction in the coming year, you’ll need to plan on installing solar panels.

If that’s the case, we can help. We’re a roofing company in South San Francisco, but we also perform solar installations regularly. We’re well-versed in serving homeowners and business owners in San Francisco, and we were recently recognized as being one of the city’s best roofers. We’re also a GoSolarSF Certified Company, so we help homeowners in San Francisco with their solar needs via the City Incentive Application, too.

If you have any questions about solar installation on a new construction project, or if you just want to make your current home or business more sustainable, you can contact us any time.

We’re also happy to answer any questions about this new ordinance and what it means for you.
~Mr. Roofing
San Francisco’s residential & commercial roofing experts

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