SF Solar Incentives to Get Final Vote


San Francisco is poised to greatly boost its number of solar rooftops pending one final full meeting of the Board of Supervisors this afternoon (full schedule available here). We’ve been following the city’s proposed solar incentive rebate program for some time now (catch up here, here and here) and it has been an uphill battle for solar advocates. After seven committee hearings, replete with commenting solar startup entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, green collar workers and concerned citizens, today might provide some finality and, hopefully, vindication.

The full board will vote on three separate proposals that have evolved along the way. Here’s the breakdown:

  1. Advocates’ Solar Rebate Proposal: Supported by the Mayor and Assessor offices, this is the original incarnation of the program. The proposed program would provide $2-5 million per year for solar installations in the city. Individual residents could receive $3,000-$6,000, commercial businesses could get $10,000 and non-profit affordable housing projects could receive $30,000. Supervisor Bevan Dufty is the key sponsor of this proposal.
  2. Supervisor Jake McGoldrick’s Solar Ordinance: McGoldrick’s proposed ordinance would set priorities for how the Public Utility Commission funds projects, where the solar incentive’s money is coming from, and where the funds could be spent. His proposal would reserve all money for public solar projects and installations for non-profit housing. McGoldrick doesn’t like public funds being used to finance solar installations on private citizens’ homes.
  3. Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi’s Solar Proposal: Mirkarimi has put forward a compromise. His proposal would create a 1-year, $1.5 million solar rebate program. A $325,000 portion would be reserved for affordable housing developers, a $325,000 portion would be for limited-income households, and a $750,000 portion would be used for multi-unit and single family residential buildings.

If you want solar in San Francisco, contact your supervisor. Today’s meeting is scheduled for 2 pm today in the legislative chambers and is open to the public, although there is no public comment session as the public (in the form of the aforementioned VCs, startups, etc.) has already commented in committee meetings.

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