San Francisco supervisors Tuesday approved programs offering incentive payments for city residents and business owners to install solar panels on the rooftops of their homes or businesses.
One 10-year, $3.5-million-a-year program would offer $3,000 to $6,000 for residents and up to $10,000 for businesses toward the purchase of the solar energy systems.
The Solar Energy Incentive Program ordinance, sponsored by Supervisor Bevan Dufty and Assessor-Recorder Phil Ting, and which also received the support of Mayor Gavin Newsom, passed Tuesday afternoon on an 8-3 vote.
Newsom has said the program could in 10 years increase the amount of rooftops with solar panels in the city from 750 to 15,000, adding 50 megawatts of solar power to the city’s energy supply.
According to the mayor’s office, residential solar energy systems in San Francisco can be pricey, estimated at between $20,000 and $25,000 on average.
Supervisor Jake McGoldrick, one of the dissenters to the ordinance, decried the program as a “duplicitous attempt to channel money” to the private sector, specifically private solar installation companies. He said taxpayer money would be better served going toward energy conservation measures.
McGoldrick did vote in favor of a second ordinance, sponsored by Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, that establishes a one-year pilot program providing an additional $1.5 million specifically for low-income residents who purchase solar energy systems.
“We shouldn’t just be solarizing” that part of the city with residents “who can afford it,” Mirkarimi argued Tuesday.
Mirkarimi’s ordinance was given preliminary approval Tuesday, by a 10-1 vote.
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