San Francisco to require solar panels on new buildings

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San Francisco has this week passed landmark legislation requiring all new buildings under 10 storeys in height to be fitted with rooftop solar panels.

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors this week unanimously passed legislation to require all new commercial or residential buildings with 10 or fewer stories to have solar PV or solar thermal panels installed from January 2017.

The Better Roofs ordinance was penned by Supervisor Scott Wiener, who said the measure was needed to fight climate change and reduce reliance on fossil fuels.

This legislation makes San Francisco the first major city in the country to require solar to be installed on new construction.

It is hoped that the legislation will help move San Francisco towards its goal of meeting 100% of the City’s electricity demand with renewable energy.

The measure builds on existing Californian state law which requires all new buildings to have at least 15% of their roof space exposed to sunshine, in order to allow for future solar panel use.

“By increasing our use of solar power, San Francisco is once again leading the nation in the fight against climate change and the reduction of our reliance on fossil fuels,” said Supervisor Wiener.

“Activating underutilized roof space is a smart and efficient way to promote the use of solar energy and improve our environment. We need to continue to pursue aggressive renewable energy policies to ensure a sustainable future for our city and our region.”

San Francisco has a target to source 100% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020 and has emerged as one of the US’s leading clean tech hubs with a raft of Silicon Valley investors and entrepreneurs backing a host of green technology start-ups in the region.

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