Solar panel program to receive new funds 

A burst of new funds will allow city officials to extend a program that doles out cash to help property owners and others meet solar panel installation costs.

The 18 month-old GoSolarSF program, which has awarded more than $10,000 to some solar panel-installing applicants, was overhauled recently because it had burned through more than $8.5 million of its $9.5 million budget.

Officials notified solar panel installers in late November that only low-income applicants would be able to participate in the program because funding was quickly running low. 

 But Mayor Gavin Newsom announced during a recent State of the City address that an additional $5.5 million will be pumped into the program.

“We’ve put together the largest incentive program of its kind in America,” Newsom said during the address. “We have doubled the number of solar installations in a year and a couple of months. As a consequence, we now are the leader of any large urban city in the state of California in per capita solar generation.”

Most of the new funds, $5 million, will be awarded to program applicants next fiscal year, according to San Francisco Public Utilities Commission spokeswoman Laura Spanjian. 40 percent of the $5 million will be set aside for low-income applicants, she said.

The remainder, $0.5 million, will be awarded this fiscal year to low-income applicants, according to Spanjian.

SFPUC commissioners are scheduled to consider the proposed appropriation during Power Enterprise budget discussions on Thursday. The funds would continue to be drawn from the SFPUC’s sale of hydroelectric power.

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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