Solar panels could be required on most new construction in San Francisco

Would make permanent existing city program that gives homeowners, businesses, and nonprofits money forf installing solar arrays

A San Francisco city councilor will propose a new regulation that could soon mandate solar panels on most new construction in the city and on many existing apartment buildings.

David Chiu, president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, says he will introduce the resolution to require all new buildings include solar panels, rooftop gardens, or both. The rule would apply to commercial and residential buildings alike, wherever feasible.

Chiu says some skyscrapers with rooftop mechanical systems may not have the space for PVs and that many single-family dwellings would not be suitable even if the owners could afford them. Chiu’s Solar Vision 2020 proposal would curb the city’s greenhouse gas emissions and boost the thriving local solar industry.

It would make permanent an existing city program that gives homeowners, businesses, and nonprofit groups money to defray the cost of installing solar arrays. It would also establish a goal of roughly doubling the amount of solar electricity generated in the city, from 26 megawatts today to 50 megawatts in 2020. The director of the urban development group Housing Action Coalition warned that the program could boost construction costs in a city with a shortage of affordable housing.


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