Grace Cathedral Dean Alan Jones welcomes sample solar panel Wednesday in ceremony announcing the 13th century French Gothic-style cathedral moves to
state-of-the-art solar power

Photo by Bill Wilson © 2008

Photo ©

Sentinel Editor & Publisher
Copyright © 2008

Grace Cathedral, San Francisco’s classic reminder of the timeless, ushered in modern solar power Wednesday, ripe to reap harvest of significantly lowered energy costs.

Solar panels, providing energy from the sun, will be installed by Solar City on the South roof, donated by Pacific Gas and Electric Company as part of PG&E’S commitment to clean energy.

Dean Jones welcomed Mayor Newsom to officiate the morning ceremoney as leader of the City that became national model for urban greening.

“We’re here to announce a generous gift of PG&E, and to make a statement of our collective resolve to work in partnership with both the leadership of the City of San Francisco and its private sector,” began Jones.

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, left,
Grace Cathedral Dean Alan Jones,
and PG&E Senior Vice President of Public Affairs Nancy McFadden

Photo by Bill Wilson © 2008

“It’s great when these energies come together, and it’s also exciting that what was currently marginal in technologies and feasibilities are becoming more and more centrist and mainstream,”
Jones continued.

“Not least, our common goal to reduce dependence on non-renewable energy and, of course, to reduce the degradation of the environment.

“It should be a no-brainer that the stewardship of the Earth is central to the Cathedral’s mission and to our personal responsibility.

“So it’s my great pleasure and honor to welcome and introduce our mayor, Gavin Newsom.”

Photo by Bill Wilson © 2008

Newsom noted City movement to solar power.

“San Francisco has been a leader in so many ways on the environment, but we lagged behind in the area of solar,” stated the mayor.

“Because I think people take for granted that this City is a city that is well positioned to provide alternative energy through solar but that people’s biases, people’s own myth about the fog and the atmosphere, the marine layer around us, keep people away from applying that in any real way.

“As a consequence, San Francisco estimates last week that we have less than 1,000 buildings in our City with solar in a city with over 195,000 roofs — less than a thousand have solar installations on them.

“That’s paltry — again, in a city on the leading cutting-edge of the environmental movement.”

Municipal buildings lead private homes and businesses in solar installations.

“We certainly are ahead in terms of municpally owned solar projects — no city in the United States has more municipally owned solar, but when it comes the private sector we can’t do that job.

“We need more partners. We need more incentives.

“Recentlyj we passed the most aggressive solar incentives that exist anywhere in the United States of America.

“It’s really an exciting time for our City with the goal and expectation that we can more than double the total number of installations within the next six or so months, and we can change that myth about San Francisco not being a city of sun and solar and turn that myth on its head.

“I want to encourage everyone who is interested in installating solar to call 3-1-1 to get all the information about solar incentives.

“These are incentives for individuals that can provide up to $6,000 in rebates, loca rebates that match the State rebates, and people can take advantage of the ongoing tax credits at the Federal level.

“We also have incentives that for businesses that go as high as $10,000, and we’ll also take advantage of our regional partners Solar City in their desire to install solar.”

Germany receives less sunlight than San Francisco.

“Germany leads the world in solar,” added Newsom.

“Germany has rarely seen the sun.

“We have exponentially more sunny days in San Francisco than Berlin which is the world’s capital in terms of solar installation.

“Make no mistake, San Francisco can capture that position.”

Newsom thanked PG&E for its donated solar installations to San Francisco buildings.

“I want to thank PG&E that stood up to the plate and not only helped today but at our Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Center — that helped us in multiple other locations throughout the city, schools.

“Recently we were with PG&E as they’re putting solar installations throughout out public schools.

“It is a good partnership.”

Nancy McFadden represented Pacific Gas and Electric Company
Photo by Bill Wilson © 2008

McFadden acknowledged Grace Cathedral as a San Francisco icon.

“We are so honored to partner with an icon of San Francisco, Grace Cathedral,” McFadden told the gatherring.

“PG&E is in its own way an icon of San Francisco — we’ve headquartered here for over 100 years so what a great partnership for us to join together to green Grace Cathedral even more than we’ve been doing over the past 18 years.

“Starting in 1990, we’ve been working with Grace Cathedral to make it make it one of the most energy efficient cathedrals in the United States.

“And now it will be a cathedral with solar on it.

“First we’ll be able to combine incentives and a charitable grant because because our view is that the cathedral and non-profit centers should be able to take advantage of the kind of technology that willl enable us to lower energy bills for an institution like this.

“All great ideas of a partnership like this have sparks and I have to join with Dean Jones, and thank him for his leadership here.

“Thank you San Francisco for letting us be a part of this.”

Photo by Bill Wilson © 2008

Photo by Bill Wilson © 2008

Photo by Bill Wilson © 2008





Sentinel Photographer
Bill Wilson is a veteran freelance photographer whose work is published by San Francisco and Bay Area media. Bill embraced photography at the age of eight. In recent years, his photos capture historic record of the San Francisco LGBT community in the Bay Area Reporter (BAR). Bill has contributed to the Sentinel for the past four years. Email Bill Wilson at

Sentinel Editor & Publisher
In his youth, Pat Murphy worked as a General Assignment reporter for the Richmond Independent, the Berkeley Daily Gazette, and the San Francisco Chronicle. He served as Managing Editor of the St. Albans (Vermont) Daily Messenger at age 21. Murphy also launched ValPak couponing in San Francisco, as the company’s first San Francisco franchise owner. He walked the bricks, developing ad strategy for a broad range of restaurants and merchants. Pat knows what works and what doesn’t work. His writing skill has been employed by marketing agencies, including Don Solem & Associates. He has covered San Francisco governance for the past eleven years. Pat scribes an offbeat opinion column of the human family. Email Pat Murphy at

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