One More Solar Incentive

By: Phil Ting

New data released over the weekend shows one more reason to install rooftop solar panels – and yet another reason to support San Francisco’s pioneering GoSolarSF local solar incentive.GoSolarSF Petition

A study released by three top researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab showed that homes with rooftop solar panels sell for a substantial premium over homes without the capacity to generate all or some of their own electric power.

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San Francisco Solar Power Today, Better Resale Value Tomorrow

The study showed that over the last decade solar homes sold for a premium that usually recaptures ALL of the homeowner’s costs of installing the solar investment. So homeowners who invest in solar today get the immediate benefit of lower energy costs and a lower carbon footprint AND they are likely to recoup all of their investment when they sell.

The study found the average return was about $5.50 per watt of solar installed or $17,000 in additional value on sale for the typical 3KW home system.

Remember, this long-term benefit to homeowners is in addition to the immediate economic stimulus being created as we transition to a green economy. So the solar investment that is creating jobs here in San Francisco and the Bay Area for solar installers and solar manufacturers pays for itself in the short run with lower energy costs and then again in the long run – with higher resale values.

Higher Tax Returns for San Francisco

While investing in solar now does not raise your property assessment while you own your home (thanks to a great state law authored our very own Senator Mark Leno), this study proves that it does raise the value when homeowners do sell. That means the City of San Francisco is capturing value from new solar both in the short run through the economic stimulus effect and in the long run through greater transfer tax value on future sales and greater value in terms of assessment of solar homes once they are sold.

Again, to emphasize to all of those thinking about making a solar investment, such an investment has no effect on your current tax assessment. We will not re-assess your property based on renewable energy upgrades. But when and if you do sell, you will win and the city will win based on the increased value your solar investment brings. According to this new study, you are likely to recapture all of your investment in a higher sales price. And that means going forward, the city will capture the benefits of higher tax assessments.

Sign the Petition to Fully Fund the Solar Incentive.

As one of the co-chairs of the San Francisco Solar Task Force, I worked to help craft the GoSolarSF program to create local incentives for solar installations. The program has been a success beyond our most optimistic projections, quadrupling the number of solar roofs in the city, creating scores of new green jobs, and attracting nearly a dozen new solar companies to San Francisco while helping to solidify our status as an emerging capital of the green economy.

Now this new study shows the benefit to the City of San Francisco goes well beyond these new green jobs and our transition to greater energy independence. Higher sales prices also mean we capture the ongoing tax dividend when homes that have gone solar are eventually resold.

We knew the GoSolarSF incentive was a win-win for our residents and our environment. Now here is more data that shows the win-win-win benefit of solar investment – a stronger city budget in the long-term.

If you agree we need to keep investing in a renewable future – please sign our petition to protect solar investment today.

ab_in_sf's picture

Save GoSolarSF Letter in Chronicle

Just wanted to share a letter from Phil and David Hocschild calling on the Board of Supervisors and Mayor Lee to fully fund GoSolarSF.


Letters to the editor, May 23

Monday, May 23, 2011

Support S.F.'s solar plan

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission's proposed 40 percent cut to the landmark environmental initiative GoSolarSF is unacceptable. With all due respect to SFPUC General Manager Ed Harrington, his facts are off ("Solar incentives should not overshadow infrastructure," Open Forum, May 18).

According to the Mayor's Office of Economic Development, more than 450 solar jobs have been created since GoSolarSF began. We are now a clean technology capital and home to at least 30 pioneering solar firms, such as Tioga, Suntech, Luminalt and SunRun.

GoSolarSF's $5 million annual budget has always been fully exhausted. It was not this year because a large project fell through at the last minute. The $1.4 million that Harrington addresses should actually be extended next year, not used as an excuse to scale back GoSolarSF.

GoSolarSF is a great success and has quadrupled the number of solar roofs in the city and put San Franciscans back to work - all while paying for itself in higher long-term tax revenues. Thanks to GoSolarSF, increased competition among solar companies has reduced the cost of installing a solar energy system by 25 percent.

Mayor Ed Lee and our Board of Supervisors have a chance to support these great strides in solar by fully funding GoSolarSF.

We are confident they will.

Phil Ting, assessor-recorder,

David Hocschild, former SFPUC member,

co-chairs, San Francisco Solar Task Force

Kate Maeder's picture

Solar Mosaic

Cool community solar idea in Oakland. Check it out:

Together we all go solar. from Solar Mosaic on Vimeo.

Paid for by Phil Ting for Assembly 2012. FPPC ID# 1343137