Supes approve legislation requiring solar panels on new buildings

San Francisco Tuesday became the first major city in the country to approve legislation requiring solar panels on new buildings.

The Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to approve legislation by Supervisor Scott Wiener requiring solar panels on all new residential and commercial buildings up to 10 stories tall.

State law already requires that 15 percent of the roof area on new small and mid-sized buildings be “solar ready,” meaning free of shade and obstructions that could interfere with the installation of solar panels.

Wiener’s legislation takes that requirement a step further by requiring that space to actually have solar panels installed. To meet the requirement, developers can either install solar photovoltaic or solar water panels, both of which supply 100 percent renewable energy.

Wiener said:

“Activating underutilized roof space is a smart and efficient way to promote the use of solar energy and improve our environment.”

Wiener also added:

“We need to continue to pursue aggressive renewable energy policies to ensure a sustainable future for our city and our region.”

The legislation will also help move the city toward its goal of meeting 100 percent of the city’s electricity demand with renewable energy, Wiener said.

Wiener has said he also plans to introduce legislation that would allow living roofs, roofs partially or completely covered with vegetation, to meet the solar panels requirement.