San Francisco, California is the latest major city to require solar panels on new construction buildings. The move is significant given that San Francisco is a major metropolitan area. Two other cities in California already have a solar requirement – Lancaster and Sebastopol.
The city’s Board of Supervisors has approved a new ordinance that will require buildings up to 10 stories in height to have rooftop solar systems for heat and electricity.
The push for solar will help the city achieve its goal of running on 100 percent renewable energy by 2025.
California already had a state requirement that stipulates that all new construction have at least 15 percent of the rooftop solar installation ready. The municipal rules will actually require installation.
The new rules will take effect in January of 2017, and will give a boost to local solar companies in California.
The impact of climate change is at the heart of these new rules. The ordinance specifically calls out increased levels of carbon emissions from using non-renewable energy and its impact on city infrastructure. City officials say they have had to deal with extreme tides and have already had to spend city funds to change the local sewer system and other critical infrastructure in response. While bringing down carbon emissions locally may only have a limited effect, it is a step in the right direction and could be a model for other cities.