Ordinance Would Mandate Solar On New Buildings In San Francisco


San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener has introduced legislation to require that solar panels be installed on new residential and commercial buildings constructed in the city. According to Wiener, this legislation would help move San Francisco toward its goal of meeting 100% of the city’s electricity demand with renewable energy, and the proposal has the support of the San Francisco Department of the Environment.

“This legislation will activate our roofs, which are an under-utilized urban resource, to make our city more sustainable and our air cleaner,” states Wiener. “In a dense, urban environment, we need to be smart and efficient about how we maximize the use of our space to achieve goals like promoting renewable energy and improving our environment.”

Wiener says that under existing state law, California’s Title 24 Energy Standards require 15% of roof area on new small and midsize buildings to be “solar ready,” which means the roof is unshaded by the proposed building itself and free of obtrusions. This state law applies to all new residential and commercial buildings of 10 floors or fewer.

Wiener says his proposed ordinance would build on this state law by requiring this 15% of “solar ready” roof area to have solar actually installed. This can take the form of either solar photovoltaic or solar water panels. Wiener adds he also plans to introduce follow-up legislation to include living roofs, a.k.a. green roofs, as eligible to satisfy the requirement.

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