Don’t Let the Sun Set on GoSolarSF
June 28, 2012
By: Phil Ting
This week, a group of San Francisco cleantech companies wrote a letter to the city imploring the continued funding of GoSolarSF. Sunrun, Suntech North America, Carbon War Room, First Solar, The Vote Solar Initiative, SunEdison, Clean Power Finance, Distributed Energy Consumer Advocates and One Block Off the Grid told the city that: “A major impetus in our decision to locate and grow our companies in San Francisco, where we collectively employ over 500 workers, was policy innovations such as the GoSolarSF Program.”
The group that penned the letter also points out that San Francisco was named the “CleanTech Capital of North America” by the CleanTech Group – because of programs like GoSolarSF.
When I helped found GoSolarSF in July 2008, our vision was to develop a program that created jobs, brought cleantech businesses to our city and put solar panels on as many rooftops as possible. We’ve accomplished these goals and have shone the light on how successful and efficient a solar incentive program can be for San Franciscans. Now, we must keep it going.
But we can only keep it going if we stick with the program, which called for ten years of funding. That’s why so many companies were willing to commit to San Francisco, because we were committed to them and clean technology – so please help us keep our commitment and find the funding for GoSolarSF!
We’re all sympathetic to the fact that times are tough, and there’s simply not enough room in our city’s budget to adequately fund every deserving program and project.
But GoSolarSF has proven its value as one of the most cost-effective programs in the nation. It’s putting San Franciscans back to work, generating local dollars for our economy and has helped make San Francisco one of the world centers of the solar industry.
Since we launched GoSolarSF in 2008, we have quadrupled the number of solar installations in the city and generated 5.75 megawatts of renewable energy and attracted nearly 30 new clean-tech businesses to San Francisco.
The power of GoSolarSF is that it leverages a few local dollars to unlock significant state, federal and private investment. When we take a close look at Civic Return on Investment, the GoSolarSF program is one of the most cost-effective efforts in the entire city.
The data is clear. We know that homes with solar sell for more than homes without. In fact, the prices of homes with solar tend to reflect the entire investment in solar plus a premium. So, not to bore you with math, but with the average home selling every seven years in San Francisco, we actually will make back all of the city’s small investment in rooftop solar thorough increased property taxes once the homes sell.
GoSolarSF pays for itself, creates new jobs, attracts new businesses and lowers green house gas levels. Not many government programs can actually claim this kind of success.
Here’s how that works: when the city creates a new solar roof with a $5,000 incentive, that incentive unlocks federal, state and private dollars that can total up to $35,000 or more in rooftop solar. The city then recaptures its original investment when the home is sold through increased valuations. Not many government programs actually pay for themselves plus generate new jobs, attract new businesses, lower green house gas levels and free local residents of much, if not all, of their monthly electric bill – creating an ongoing economic stimulus.
If that sounds good to you, please sign our petition to Save GoSolarSF. Don’t let the sun set on GoSolarSF.