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SFPUC’s Solar Energy Programs Enjoy Banner Year in 2018
Nearly 450 solar projects installed this year due to SFPUC incentives, representing a 41 percent increase from the year prior, with particular emphasis on affordable housing
Posted Date: 12/20/2018 10:00 AM
San Francisco, CA – The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission’s GoSolarSF program incentivized the installation of 442 solar power projects in homes and businesses across San Francisco in 2018, a 41 percent increase from 2017 totals.  
 
Launched in 2008, GoSolarSF provides monetary incentives to help residents and businesses install solar panels on city rooftops. This year, the 442 solar power projects were spurred on by incentives totaling $1.6 million. That funding allocation represents a 76 percent increase from last year.
 
GoSolarSF reduces participants’ electricity bills and shrinks the city’s carbon footprint. The program is critical to helping San Francisco reach its goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2050. Installations incentivized by GoSolarSF in 2018 helped reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2,058 metric tons last year, the equivalent to removing more than 5 million vehicle miles driven by cars.
 
“We are empowering our residents to make smart, sustainable decisions with their energy options,” said SFPUC General Manager Harlan L. Kelly, Jr. “San Franciscans know that renewable energy is the future for our City, and we are seeing that commitment in action with their embrace of GoSolarSF.” 
 
In 2018, GoSolarSF placed an emphasis on incentivizing projects in affordable housing sites. More than 85 solar arrays were installed for low-income residents, including a 58.3-kilowatt project at a Mercy Housing site on 145 Guerrero Street. The 2018 total installations at low-income homes marked a fourfold increase from last year. 
 
“At Mercy Housing, we are committed to creating healthy living environments and we pride ourselves on incorporating environmental stewardship into our buildings,” said Regional Director of Portfolio Syndication, Rich Ciraulo. “The GoSolarSF program allowed us to significantly minimize our energy consumption at Francis of Assisi Community, while helping us work toward our goal of reducing energy consumption across the Mercy Housing portfolio.”
 
Since the program’s inception, the SFPUC has provided $27 million in incentive claims, resulting in more than 4,840 projects installed, and 18.6 megawatts of clean, renewable power being generated.
 
City-Operated Solar Program Growing 
 
Along with providing incentives for residents and businesses to install solar panels, the SFPUC currently owns and operates 22 different solar arrays throughout the city, a collection that generates more than 8 megawatts of power. Those projects helped reduce greenhouse gas emissions in San Francisco by nearly 6,400 metric tons last year—the equivalent of 15.8 million vehicle miles driven.
 
The SFPUC completed major construction this year for new solar installations at the San Francisco Police Academy, the Starr King Elementary School and Burton High School, with the arrays generating 25 – 30 percent of the power for those institutions.
 
Three more solar installations are planned for next year, including two more on San Francisco Unified School District sites.
 
"As a district, we are committed to not only reducing the environmental footprint of our schools, but to educating students about sustainable energy sources, like solar panels," SFUSD Superintendent Dr. Vincent Matthews said. "We appreciate working with the SFPUC to bring solar panels to schools and provide opportunities for learning for our students."
 
The SFPUC is also working on a unique Career Awareness program with John O’Connell High School, which educates students about careers and services in the utility industry. SFPUC educates 11th and 12th grade students in the school’s Construction and Environmental Technology Lab about solar energy and environmental justice policies.