Mayor to address solar conference despite anger about his budget 

Mayor Ed Lee will deliver the opening remarks today at a major solar convention at the Moscone Center, but his appearance is surprising to some, since he cut millions of dollars from The City’s GoSolarSF program.
  • Mayor Ed Lee will deliver the opening remarks today at a major solar convention at the Moscone Center, but his appearance is surprising to some, since he cut millions of dollars from The City’s GoSolarSF program.

Mayor Ed Lee will deliver the opening remarks today at a major solar convention at the Moscone Center, but his appearance is surprising to some, since he cut millions of dollars from The City’s GoSolarSF program.

John Rizzo, a member of the San Francisco chapter of the Sierra Club, is among a group of solar energy advocates campaigning to restore funding to the GoSolarSF program, which was launched in 2008 and has led to 1,826 solar installations, or 5.75 megawatts of energy.

“It’s a little surprising,” Rizzo said of Lee’s appearance at the Intersolar North America conference, which is billed as California’s largest solar power event. “But I’m hoping he’ll see the light and refund the program.”

The Board of Supervisors has yet to approve Lee’s two-year city budget, which includes $2 million a year for GoSolarSF, not the previous $5 million.

Last month, nine solar power industry executives wrote to Lee, saying that the decrease in solar investment could prove devastating to San Francisco’s leadership position in the clean technology industry.

“The mayor is committed to supporting the growth of solar in San Francisco,” Lee’s spokeswoman Christine Falvey said, calling the program’s $2 million annual budget “significant support.”

“That said, the mayor has heard a lot from the industry,” Falvey said. “He is working with the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission to try and develop some alternative funding solutions to make sure the program is funded sufficiently.”  

San Francisco’s clean technology industry continues to grow. Falvey said Lee’s remarks to the conference will note that two new solar companies have recently opened offices in the Financial District: China-based ReneSola and Spain-based Enertis Solar.

jsabatini@sfexaminer.com

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