San Francisco Passes Solar Mandate for New Buildings: Another Step Toward its 100% Renewable Goal

By Rob Sargent
Senior Director, Campaign for 100% Renewable Energy

We know we can have healthier communities right now and a livable future for kids growing up today. But to get there, we must transform the way we produce and consume energy. That’s got to start with a commitment to 100 percent clean, renewable energy.

Last week, San Francisco became the first major U.S. city to mandate solar on every new building, further reinforcing the city’s commitment to meeting its goal of getting to 100% of its power from renewable energy within ten years. They become the first major city to do this and 3rd overall, joining small California towns Lancaster and Sebastopol, who made the same move in 2013.

For cities, rooftop solar represents one of the best opportunities to shift to renewable energy. That means solar on all viable roofs; both new and existing. Many cities and towns across the country are encouraging the increased development of rooftop solar -- lowering customers’ energy bills, avoiding pollution and creating local jobs. What better way prepare for a 100% renewable future than to put solar on every new roof?

San Francisco’s rooftop solar mandate on all new structures came just as the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) updated a previous report, showing that rooftop solar photovoltaics alone could supply about 40% of the the nation’s current power needs.  

San Francisco’s commitment demonstrates the power and effectiveness of towns, cities, and states setting ambitious renewable standards and goals. San Francisco has committed themselves to going 100% renewable by 2025, and by requiring solar on new structures, they are setting themselves up for success.

With bold actions like this, we are optimistic that the country can quickly achieve 100% clean, renewable energy before the point at which we reach irreversible climate warming. We encourage other cities and towns to commit to 100% renewable energy and to back it up with policies like the one just passed in San Francisco.

Stay tuned for more good news on 100% renewable energy!