Energy

San Francisco passes law requiring new buildings to be topped with solar panels

San Francisco passes law requi...
The new rule is part of a larger plan to meet San Francisco's electricity demands entirely via renewables
The new rule is part of a larger plan to meet San Francisco's electricity demands entirely via renewables
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The new rule is part of a larger plan to meet San Francisco's electricity demands entirely via renewables
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The new rule is part of a larger plan to meet San Francisco's electricity demands entirely via renewables

San Francisco has passed a law requiring all new buildings below 10 stories to have solar panels installed on their rooftops. It becomes the first major US city to mandate solar panel installations on new constructions and forms part of a wider vision to generate 100 percent of its electricity via renewable energy.

The Better Roofs Ordinance was passed unanimously by the city's Board of Supervisors, and will apply to new constructions both commercial and residential from January next year, according to the San Francisco Examiner.

"Activating underutilized roof space is a smart and efficient way to promote the use of solar energy and improve our environment," says Supervisor Scott Wiener, who introduced the legislation in February. "We need to continue to pursue aggressive renewable energy policies to ensure a sustainable future for our city and our region."

Other governments around the world have adopted similar policies, including the states of Maharashtra and Haryana in India. Dubai also plans to make rooftop solar panels mandatory for all buildings starting in 2030, as part of the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050. More locally, the smaller Californian cities of Lancaster and Sebastopol introduced compulsory rooftop solar panels in 2013.

San Francisco's new regulations add to already existing Californian laws which require 15 percent of rooftops on buildings of 10 stories or less to be unshaded and solar ready. Under the new law, buildings must have either solar photovoltaic or solar water panels installed, or a mix of the two.

As part of a concerted effort to one day run the city entirely on renewables, the mayor set up a taskforce in 2011 to develop policies and programs that steer it in this direction. It hopes to achieve this goal by 2025.

Source: Scott Wiener

13 comments
Derek Howe
Might as well change there name to San FranCommunsim
CAVUMark
They better pass a law requiring the sun to shine too.
Robt
If they could turn bull**** into electricity, they'd have solved their energy problems twenty years ago
habakak
Wonderful. Freedom!! Freedom from the grid!! Now this is TRUE DEMOCRACY and a move away from the current COMMUNIST way of not having any choice. Might as well adapt and get with the coming changes. Renewables will go mainstream over the next decade as storage cost becomes economically viable. Hopefully this law also includes all single-family homes too. Just like builders today just include plumbing, light fixtures, windows, doors, etc. hopefully this will be one of those things all over the world in a decade or two. Plumbing and electrification was also add-ons to existing structures back in the day. I guess guys like Derek & Mark would have thought of communism too when internal plumbing and electrification of all new structures became law back in the day?
Douglas Bennett Rogers
At least you don't need to fight architectural compliance! Already prohibitive startup cost will become a show stopper. This is probably what they want.
Gato
Would it not have been easier to provide an incentive like tax breaks, government fees, etc. than declaring an edict, mandate, rules, regulations, and law without public consensus. The older building owners would probably want to have a chance at these incentives as well. Instead, San Francisco government is punishing both new builders and older buildings. Segregating these older from receiving any, or allowing incentives to go solar, as well as punishing those newbies forcing to do solar without any tax / fees incentives. Now where is this government representation of the people in this action ?
kellory
They want %100 renewable sources, but it only applies to buildings 10 storries or less, so run the numbers. As long as there is one building TALLER than 10 stories, it is impossible to meet that mark (without some outside source. ) And what it will do to housing costs, is unthinkable. A small starter home will double in price. Those WANTING to get into self sufficiency, will be priced out of the market, and forced into Apts. (Most being larger than 10 stories and exempt) and we start a new housing crash.
Derek Howe
habakak - True Democracy...the government forcing you to do something, is neither freedom or democracy. You comparisons to plumbing and electricity are garbage, people weren't forced to have plumbing or electricity in their houses, THEY WANTED IT. More people got those luxuries as they could afford them, the government didn't force people to get them. The current way is anything, but communist. The business owner can choose if he wants to just get his power from the grid and have it be hassle & maintenance free, or go solar or wind or geothermal. You said "Renewable's will go mainstream over the next decade as storage cost becomes economically viable". Which is true, but that also means that currently it isn't viable. Currently it's cheaper to just tap into the grids power then to construct your own solar plant on your roof. Solar is nearly as cheap as coal, but that doesn't mean everyone wants to have solar panels on their roof. Some people don't want the hassle, some don't like the look of it. In any case, it should be up to the property owner, not the local communist government. FYI, I'm a electrician, and I have installed several solar panels on homes.
pmshah
What they need to do is to study the Pearl River project in China. It is a 71 storey high rise with vertical wind turbines and is not only self sufficient but feeds power back into the grid. http://www.som.com/projects/pearl_river_tower
CAVUMark
Better off heating potable water.