San Francisco Is Leading the Way to Energy Independence

Here is another shinning example of forward thinking leadership creating opportunity with solar energy. San Francisco California is once again showing the world what forward thinking government can do when they think out of the box. San Francisco, lead by Mayor Gavin Newsom, has found a way to contribute to our energy independence, create new high paying solar installation jobs and is helping lead the way to our economic recovery via bay area solar renewable energy. If only the rest of the country would do some creative solar thinking. We would all be better off.

NBC Bay Area News
Selling Sun in the Sunset

The rooftop of the Sunset Reservoir boasts some of the sweeping views of San Francisco. From its concrete floor you can view the crashing waves of Ocean Beach, and survey acres of tightly packed Sunset homes. It also has a prime view of the future thanks to solar energy.

In the past few months, its once stark rooftop has come to life with acres upon acres of solar panels. Workers have installed 6,000 solar panels, with another 18,000 solar panels still to go. Once it’s done, the solar panels will cover a chunk of land the size of twelve football fields, able to generate five megawatts of energy. “This is the beginning of the transformation of our economy,” said Adam Browning of the Vote Solar Initiative.”Off of fossil fuels to clean solar emission free electric power.”

The Sunset Reservoir Project will soon be the largest California municipally owned solar panel array, and one of the largest in the nation. The plant will power city buildings, Muni buses, public schools, hospitals and streetlights. “We’re well beyond the level of pilot projects, of demonstration projects,” said Browning. “This is actually a significant solar power generation plant.”

Rather than build the plant, San Francisco teamed-up with company Recurrent Energy to let them do the work. The City will buy power from Recurrent solar companies at a discounted rate. But some critics have blasted the arrangement, wondering why San Francisco doesn’t fund and operate the plant itself.

Mayor Gavin Newsom said working with a private developer qualified the City for 30 percent in rebates municipalities.
“Had we not done that, over the life of this project it would have cost the taxpayers an additions $26 million dollars,” the mayor said. “Made no sense.” The project will add to San Francisco’s options for purchasing electrical energy. Right now, the City buys hydroelectric power from Hetch Hetchy, and on the open market. Now it will be able to buy power from its own commercial solar power panel plant.

Newsom and other San Francisco city officials lowered a row of solar panels onto the array Tuesday, as part of a groundbreaking. Crews expect to install all 24,000 panels by the end of the year, with a ceremonial flipping-of-the-switch to follow. Then, it will be up to a place called the Sunset, to shed some light on a quickly changing energy world.