San Francisco will soon require select building owners to install rooftop solar panels. The legislation, drafted by Scott Wiener, was unanimously approved by the city’s Board of Supervisors Tuesday evening according to The San Francisco Examiner.
As per the ordinance, new commercial and residential buildings consisting of 10 stories or less must install photovoltaic solar panels, solar water heating systems or a combination of both. The ordinance goes into effect on January 1, 2017.
The publication points out that state law already requires new construction to reserve at least 15 percent of its rooftop as solar-ready space. What’s more, San Francisco is merely following in the footsteps of other smaller California communities including Lancaster and Sebastopol that introduced similar mandates in 2013.
The ordinance seems noble at first glance but as Engadget notes, it may be little more than political grandstanding. The publication says the number of sub-10-floor buildings going up in the city is pretty low, especially as it relates to residential construction. What’s more, some buildings are already facing opposition from residents for blocking sunlight.
Political or not, there’s a demographic that stands to make a lot of money from the mandate – solar installers and those that own stock in such companies. As of writing, a handful of solar providers have seen their stock jump by an average of 10 percent on the news.
Jeanine Cotter, co-founder of San Francisco-based solar installation company Luminalt, told the Examiner last week that solar is where we need to go as a planet, adding that there is no reason why San Francisco shouldn’t lead the way for the large cities in the state to adopt similar ordinances.