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Law Would Mandate Solar Panels on All S.F. Building Rooftops`

Law Would Mandate Solar Panels on All S.F. Building Rooftops`

A new resolution to be introduced next week in San Francisco would require the owners of most new apartment buildings in the city to install solar panels or gardens on the buildings’ rooftops.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, city Board of Supervisors President David Chiu will introduce the Solar Vision 2020 resolution next week, a resolution that would apply to both commercial and residential buildings.

The resolution would also mandate the installation of solar panels on rental housing rooftops across the city, both on existing buildings and new construction.

“If you ever go to the top of a tall building in San Francisco and look down, you see the potential for sustainability on every single roof in the city,” Chiu told the Chronicle. “Certainly for commercial buildings we believe this is absolutely feasible. If it were up to me, we would do it on larger residential (buildings) and then see what’s possible on smaller residential. But at this point, we need to get the conversation going.”

The resolution would permanently establish financial incentives for homeowners and businesses installing solar panels on their buildings, further extending a program that currently exists. The resolution also seeks to double the amount of solar electricity generated in San Francisco to 50 megawatts by 2020.

Still, Housing Action Coalition Director Tim Colen told the Chronicle a new law could significantly increase construction costs, and at an inopportune time.

“I can’t argue with what David’s saying — we have to drastically reduce our carbon footprint,” Colen said. “But how do we do this fairly in a way that doesn’t include unpleasant, expensive surprises? Cumulatively, all of the energy and water saving standards we want add to the cost of residential construction, at a time when we’ve got a crisis in affordability.”

Jeanine Cotter, CEO of solar installation company Luminalt, disagrees, and is backing Chiu’s resolution.

“Solar generates clean energy, and it generates jobs,” Cotter told the Chronicle. “And those are good jobs that we’re not exporting.”

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