SolarCity makes peace offering 

A solar installation giant is on the verge of finally entering city and community leaders’ good books.

After drawing fire for reneging on a promise to build a training academy in a low-income neighborhood, SolarCity pledged Tuesday to hire and train more locals and to support existing training programs.

Tuesday’s pledge was warmly received during the Board of Supervisors’ Rules Committee hearing by the same city and community leaders that lambasted the company at a previous hearing into the broken promise.

The company will hire at least half of its workers through The City’s workforce development program; provide paid three-month internships to members of the Bayview community for the next 18 months; and work with City College to on a training program that will include scholarships, co-founder Peter Rive said.

“We still haven’t reached a final agreement but there seems to be a general agreement that this is headed in the right direction,” Rive said.

Rive said the company will sign legally binding agreements to commit to its promises.

The hearing will continue at a later date.

The broken promise was made during an April 2008 committee hearing, when co-founder Linton Rive told supervisors that SolarCity would build an academy that offered training – followed by employment with the company – in the Bayview area if they approved Mayor Gavin Newsom’s proposed GoSolarSF subsidy program. The program was later approved by supervisors but the academy was never built.

Supervisor Chris Daly, who called for the hearing, on Tuesday characterized the company’s offer as “skeletal” and praised community members who have been negotiating with the company.

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Staff Report

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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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