GoSolarSF: Help Save Solar Incentives in San Francisco
By: Jeanine Cotter
CEO of Luminalt
This Thursday at noon on this site Assessor Phil Ting, David Hochschild, his co-chair of the San Francisco Solar Task Force and I will talk about solar and how a small, carefully-designed solar incentive program called GoSolarSF is transforming the landscape and lives of San Franciscans for the better.
Through GoSolarSF, San Francisco has created full-time jobs for local youth hired by solar contractors through San Francisco non-profits that work with underserved communities, put solar on low-income housing, built hundreds of solar electric systems which provide clean distributed energy that allows us to shut down dirty peaker plants, and lowered our City’s emissions—and as a result, inspired 20 solar companies to open offices in San Francisco, including Suntech the largest solar panel manufacturer in the world.
GoSolarSF is not funded by the City’s general fund, so this program does not come at the expense of our schools, public safety or social programs. GoSolarSF is paid for by revenue from the SFPUC’s sale of electricity generated by Hetch Hetchy.
Spearheaded by Assessor Phil Ting and Mayor Gavin Newsom, the Board of Supervisors approved the GoSolarSF incentive program in 2007 for a ten-year term. However, the budget needs to be approved each year. For the past three years, the budget has been $5 million to pay an incentive that covers a percentage of the cost for residents, non-profits and commercial buildings who want to go solar. A third of the program funds solar installations on low-income housing. This year, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) wants to slash the GoSolarSF budget by 40%.