San Francisco launches solar mapping website
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom announced the launching of a
solar mapping website at City Hall Wednesday. Although federal
tax incentives are expected to encourage residents and businesses
to install solar panels, excess energy production rebate incentives
presently do not exist.
By Matt Wynkoop
June 21, 2007
San Francisco expanded efforts to promote alternative energies
Wednesday by launching a new solar mapping Web portal that estimates
solar energy potential for city homes and businesses.
The new Web site allows home and building owners to estimate
the potential savings and environmental relief that would result
from installing solar energy panels on the roofs of their buildings,
according to a spokesman for the San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom.
By entering a San Francisco address into the Web portal, users
can retrieve a solar potential analysis that produces a breakdown
of property square-footage and the amount of savings likely to
result from installing solar panels on a structure's rooftop.
The solar map uses Google maps to take into account rooftop angles
and nearby shade producing trees or buildings, said San Francisco
Department of the Environment director Jared Blumenfeld.
Users are provided with information estimating the amount of
solar photovoltaic energy that could be generated from each roof,
as well as the potential electricity cost savings resulting from
installation, according to Blumenfeld.
San Francisco Department of the Environment Director Jared Blumenfeld
According to Blumenfeld, excess energy generated by public solar
panels cannot presently be sold to PG&E in the form of rebate
incentives. He also said he wasn't sure if PG&E is supportive
of public producing solar energy farms. Newsom, however, said
the city will work with state authorities to mandate an excess
energy buyback program to help stimulate investment in publicly
owned energy producing solar installations.
The solar mapping also estimates potential carbon dioxide/greenhouse
gas reduction resulting from the installation of a solar PV system,
according to a statement from Newsom's office. Studies and testimonianls
from other San Francisco businesses and homeowners who have installed
solar PV systems are also available on the site.
"This new Web site is an easily applicable way to make solar
more tangible and accessible to everyday community-members,''
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newson said. "Residents and businesses
can determine whether specific photovoltaic projects will pencil
out, which is the first step to getting more renewable energy
in the city.''
The project has been a partnership between Colorado-based CH2M
HILL Enterprise Management Solutions and the city and county of
San Francisco. It is available Online at www.sf.solarmap.org.
Luke Thomas contributed to this report.
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