San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener has introduced legislation that would require solar panels to be installed on new residential and commercial buildings constructed in the city.
If the legislation should pass, San Francisco will be the first major city in the USA where solar was mandatory on new builds.
“This legislation will activate our roofs, which are an under-utilized urban resource, to make our City more sustainable and our air cleaner,” said Senator 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.”
California already has legislation stating 15% of roof area on new small and mid-sized buildings must be “solar ready,” – now he wants to see that roof area to actually have solar installed; either in the form of PV (photovoltaic) panels or solar hot water systems.
The proposed legislation appears to have strong support – both Mayor Ed Lee and former Mayor Gavin Newsom are both eager for San Francisco to meet 100% of its electricity requirements through renewable energy.
The former President of the San Francisco Commission on the Environment, Josh Arce, says the legislation would also create a significant number of jobs.
Last year, solar mapping provider Mapdwell estimated the city can host up to 3 GW of rooftop PV systems – around 60% of Australia’s current solar capacity in total.
Solar is already mandatory in some places around the world. The government of Haryana in the north of India made solar mandatory for all buildings occupying 418 square metres or more. Nepal’s government is also in the process of making solar power systems compulsory on all government and commercial buildings in the country’s capital, Kathmandu.
Closer to home; in the new Canberra suburb of Denman Prospect, each house will need to have a minimum 3kW array. Solar power systems have also been compulsory in the City of Nedlands in Perth for new homes and some commercial buildings.