Solar Power Is For Everyone
Date: Nov 01, 2010
Campaign for: Renewable Energy

Our work on renewable energy began in early 2008 when the campaign to shut down the Potrero Power Plant without new power plants required the identification of alternatives to dirty fossil fuel generation in Southeast San Francisco.


In early 2008 Mayor Gavin Newsom, Assessor Phil Ting, SF Public Utilities Commissioner David Hochschild, and the Sierra Club proposed a solar incentive program called GoSolarSF that sought to catalyze solar adoption in San Francisco County, which at that time ranked dead last in terms of solar installed per capita among the nine Bay Area Counties.

We supported that program after an amendment by Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi added a low-income incentive to spur solar adoption in communities not typically targeted for renewable energy investment.

Espanola Goes Solar

While the GoSolarSF program was immediately successful in quickly doubling the amount of solar panels on San Francisco rooftops, by early 2009 the low-income component had lagged far behind. Our community godmother, Espanola Jackson, stepped up and was among the first low-income homeowners to apply to go solar.

On May 24, 2009, Ms. Jackson kicked off a solar revolution in Bayview-Hunters Point with the help of Grid Alternatives, Luminalt, Brightline, and the Southeast Jobs Coalition when 20 local Bayview residents installed solar panels on her house with free training provided by Grid and Luminalt.

Since that time, the low-income solar incentive has been the most popular component of the GoSolarSF program, and Brightline worked with Supervisor Chris Daly to implement SolarCity's commitment to develop a solar training program for Bayview residents, crafting an amendment to the program that requires all solar companies to hire community workers from the City's workforce development system beginning in July 2010.

Sunset Reservoir

Our work on the Sunset Reservoir solar project was part of our Green Jobs For Communities campaign. In April 2009, we initially withheld our support for the City's plan for 5-megawatts on top of a reservoir in the Sunset District until we were able to work out a 30% disadvantaged community hiring requirement with the SFPUC, CityBuild, Recurrent Energy, BASS Electric, labor, and our allies in the Southeast Jobs Coalition. An agreement was signed the morning of the final committee vote on the project, and the support of Brightline and the Southeast Jobs Coalition has been called critical to the project's passage.

Supervisors Eric Mar and Carmen Chu co-sponsored the project with Mayor Newsom, and Sup. Mar in particularly worked diligently to make sure the project was not just about solar, but about increasing green awareness and opportunity in San Francisco's environmental justice communities. Though there were bumps in the road, by the time Sunset Reservoir's 25,000 solar panels were power on in December 2010, the 30% community hiring requirement had been met.


We support the City's community choice aggregation program, CleanPowerSF, and we are currently working with allies from the Sierra Club, Green Party, Local Clean Energy Alliance, Global Exchange and other groups for a plan to develop 360 megawatts of local renewable generation and efficiency in San Francisco.

What's Next?

Brightline Executive Director Joshua Arce is a member of Mayor Edwin Lee's 100% Renewable Energy Task Force and we seek to advocate a policy that requires a portion of renewable generation required by the California Renewable Portfolio Standard must be located in-state.

GoSolarSF Funding Doubles As Mayor Lee Delivers On Commitment To Restore Cuts
Posted Thu, Mar 14, 2013 in Renewable Energy
Like a quarterback leading a team of environmental and green jobs advocates down a field of renewable energy goals, Mayor Ed Lee has put San Francisco’s successful GoSolarSF program within inches of the goal line by announcing yesterday that he has doubled funding for the incentive effective July 1.

And unlike ...
City's Landmark Solar Program on Life Support
Posted Mon, Feb 25, 2013 in Renewable Energy
Clean Energy And Local Job Advocates Urged To Call The SFPUC At (415) 554-3155 And Say "I Support GoSolarSF"

Since 2008, San Francisco’s successful GoSolarSF program has enabled over 2,000 homeowners, tenants, businesses, and nonprofits to put solar panels on their roof, dramatically increasing the supply...
Popular SF Solar Program Faces Uncertain Future
Posted Fri, Jul 06, 2012 in Renewable Energy
City Leaders Have Short Window To Restore Devastating Budget Cuts

By any measurement, San Francisco’s GoSolarSF program has been an incredible success.

Since 2008, the City’s solar rebate has leveraged state and federal incentives to as...
All SF Solar Projects On Hold After Labor Dispute Causes Community Protests
Posted Mon, Jun 21, 2010 in Renewable Energy
Workers Sent Home From Sunset Reservoir Last Week Are Back On The Job, But No More Solar Until City Decision Is Rescinded

June 21, 2010, SAN FRANCISCO, CA--A plan to put solar panels on top of San Francisco City Hall was to be voted upon by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission as soon as early July. H...
Sunset Reservoir Solar Project Shut Down Indefinitely
Posted Wed, Jun 16, 2010 in Renewable Energy
Community Members Protest San Francisco Decision In Labor Dispute That Prevents Bayview-Hunters Point Residents From Working On The Project

June 16, 2010, SAN FRANCISCO, CA--Environmental advocates are more accustomed to shutting down fossil fuel power plants than solar installations. But when the City of San ...


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Thank You Letter to Mayor Ed Lee for Supporting GoSolarSF
· Tue, Mar 12, 2013

GoSolarSF Update - July 24, 2012
· Tue, Jul 24, 2012

Espanola Goes Solar Campaign
· Fri, Jul 10, 2009

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