Treasure Island may be hot spot for solar power 

Treasure Island — which originally featured a landmark tower that paid homage to the sun — could become the site of expansive solar power farms.

The 404-acre island that was built between San Francisco and Oakland for the 1939 World’s Fair is planned to be redeveloped during the next two decades to help create several new neighborhoods.

The island served as a Navy base from World War II until 1997. The City recently agreed to buy the island from the United States in exchange for roughly $105 million in redevelopment profits.

Parts of the adjacent Yerba Buena Island also are included in the private-industry-led building plans, which would create 8,000 new homes and substantially boost The City’s property tax revenue.

Between 1.4 and 3 acres of rooftop space on homes and other buildings are planned to be used for solar panels, according to a draft environmental impact report published Monday by The City.

Those solar panels could provide roughly 5 percent of the island’s power needs, according to the report.

Separately, 300 acres are planned to be used for parks and other forms of public open space.

Under an alternative plan being considered, up to 20 acres of open space would be cut out of the project and used for solar power farms, according to the report.

If city leaders, state officials and developers opt to build 20 acres of solar power plants, those facilities could provide more than half the island’s peak power needs.

The photovoltaic panels could provide up to 10 megawatts of energy, according to figures published by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, which will oversee power services on the island.

That’s enough power for roughly 10,000 homes, which is more than the number of units included in the redevelopment plans, but other buildings and services on the island will have their own energy needs.

“We would build the solar farms as the right pieces of land become available and demand for power grows,” Wilson Meany Sullivan developer Kheay Loke said Monday.

The centerpiece of the 1939 World’s Fair was a 400-foot octagonal structure named the Tower of the Sun.


Building plans to account for forceful wind

Wind consultants will review the design of every building planned on Treasure Island.

A new network of streets could exacerbate gales that whip across the low-lying island, according to a draft environmental report.

Streets on the redeveloped island will follow a carefully considered triangular grid to help minimize wind in public places and to maximize the amount of sunlight reaching the ground.

But the unusual grid will not be enough to protect residents from wind hazards, according to the report.

Signs will be placed throughout the island to warn pedestrians and cyclists of strong winds in susceptible areas and to suggest alternative routes, the report said.

A wind consultant will be hired to help plan the placement of shrubs, street furniture and other potential windscreens around the island, according to the report.

Also, wind consultants will be asked to propose changes to building designs if any of the new structures are expected to exacerbate wind effects.

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