San Francisco Mayor Offers Commercial Solar Opportunity

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK

    SAN FRANCISCO, California, October 7, 2008 (ENS) - San Francisco's largest businesses can receive free solar assessments and energy efficiency audits from the San Francisco Department of the Environment when they sign up to become members of the Mayor's Solar Founders' Circle.

    Solar audits by independent experts will help businesses confirm their solar potential and estimate how much a solar installation would cost, what incentives are available, and how installing solar power would affect their electricity and water heating bills, and financial pictures.

    Energy efficiency audits will help businesses identify ways to reduce their energy costs and access energy efficiency rebates.

    Over the next few weeks, Mayor Gavin Newsom will be inviting San Francisco's largest 1,500 businesses to join the Solar Founders' Circle.

    He says that in total these businesses have the potential to install 170 megawatts of solar power on their roofs, more than 30 times the amount of solar power currently installed across San Francisco, and enough to power 42,000 local households.

    "San Francisco has a unique opportunity to lead the nation, and our city and businesses are up to the challenge. We have already launched an aggressive 10-year incentive program to lower the costs of solar for everyone," said Mayor Newsom.

    "Now we're offering businesses free solar assessments and energy efficiency audits to lower the barriers even further. I'm asking our business leaders to ramp up our efforts to build the city's renewable energy portfolio and slash our carbon footprint."

    The Solar Founders' Circle program is funded in part by a $200,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Energy's Solar America Cities initiative, and in part by the city.

    "Solar America City partnerships are helping our nation address two of the most pressing challenges we face: Improving our energy security and combating global climate change," said John Lushetsky, the U.S. Department of Energy's Solar Program manager.

    Mayor Newsom has set a goal for businesses to install five megawatts of solar electricity by September 2009. If this target is met, it would double San Francisco's current solar generation.

    All businesses that install solar in the next year will be invited to join the Solar Founders' Circle.

    Applications for new solar installations have quadrupled since GoSolarSF, San Francisco's solar rebate incentive program, was launched in July.

    "Today, we have proof that if you give people the incentives to install solar panels on their home or business, they will do it," said the mayor. "And not only does this mean we're sending energy back into the grid, it means we're also creating the green collar jobs that this country desperately needs to eliminate our dependence on foreign oil."

    Sixteen solar installation companies have hired or will hire graduates of workforce development programs for solar installation jobs. When they do, they can offer the $6,000 rebate to local homeowners.

    Seven local workforce development programs have been approved by the Office of Economic and Workforce Development for placing workers into solar companies.

    Five companies already have been fully certified because they have already hired graduates of workforce training programs. These companies deserve credit for stepping up early to ensure that GoSolarSF creates green collar jobs. They are: Borrego Solar, Luminalt, Solar City, Sun Light & Power, and Sungevity.

    {Photo: Thirty thousand square feet of solar photovoltaic panels top the roof of the Moscone Convention Center in downtown San Francisco. (Photo courtesy SunPower)}

    Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2008. All rights reserved.