We all know that California has a reputation for leading the way in the adoption of new ideas. With that in mind, we are anxious to see what comes of San Francisco’s GoSolarSF project now that the local Board of Supervisors is recommending a permanent solar installation requirement. The Board is urging both the city and county to make permanent a program that requires solar installations on all new builds and any existing properties undergoing significant retrofits.
GoSolarSF was established in 2008 to encourage property owners to choose solar installations using rooftop solar collector panels. The program received a boost in 2014 when government promised to infuse the program with $10 million annually for two years. Since that time, more than $19 million has been invested in incentives for property owners.
Solar Server magazine reports on its website that the program has already met many of its objectives, a reality partially responsible for the Board of Supervisors recommending the city of San Francisco adopt new solar goals and require solar installations on new builds and retrofits.
What They Hope to Achieve
Assuming the city and county will implement the suggestions put forth by the Board of Supervisors, the question will become one of what they hope to achieve. There are a number of objectives:
- Reduce the Cost of Solar – Widespread adoption of solar installations in San Francisco has already lowered the price of the technology by as much as 50% compared to what was in place when GoSolarSF was first established. Proponents hope to see pricing continue to drop in the future.
- Affordable Housing – Because solar installations (particularly solar thermal) significantly reduces energy bills, installing solar equipment in new builds will make housing more affordable. San Francisco sees a lot of benefits here, with large blocks of apartment buildings.
- Property Values – Proponents of the plan maintain that solar installations increase property values by reducing energy costs. This would be true for both commercial and residential structures.
- Energy Goals – Requiring solar installations on new builds and significant retrofits will make it easier for the city and county to reach an annual sustainability goals by 2020.
San Francisco’s goals for solar installations may seem lofty in some places, but we have come to expect this sort of thing from California. They tend to see the future of sustainable fuel a lot more quickly than the rest of the country and are much more willing to be proactive about it.
The interesting thing about the Board of Supervisors’ recommendations is that they do not specify what kind of solar installation needs to be installed on future construction projects, only that something is installed to help the city meet its solar goals. Given that freedom, we believe solar thermal will win the day as the most efficient and cost-effective way to use solar energy technology.
Solar thermal is incredibly efficient at collecting energy from the sun and using it to generate heat that can then be used to create hot water, keep interior spaces warm, drive industrial processes, and more. In fact, we are just beginning to understand the seemingly limitless potential for solar thermal energy.
At Solar America Solutions, we are leading the way in solar thermal with our patented SunQuest 250® solar collector panel – the most efficient and cost-effective panel in the industry. The SunQuest 250® is the perfect collector panel for the kinds of installations we expect to see in San Francisco. If you would like to know more, do not hesitate to contact us.