Who will pay for AT&T Park's solar panels? 

Pacific Gas and Electric Co. ratepayers may be asked to pick up the tab for a $1 million solar panel system at AT&T Park that city officials hope will draw attention to San Francisco’s eco-friendly reputation when the Major League Baseball All-Star Game comes to town this summer.

The energy generated by the solar panels — approximately 120 kilowatts, enough power for approximately 25 houses — will not be used by the Giants, but sent into PG&E’s power grid and sold to San Francisco customers, according to the energy company.

The cost to purchase and install the solar panels is estimated at approximately $1.2 million. PG&E plans to ask the California Public Utilities Commission for permission to pass that cost onto customers, according to PG&E spokesman Keely Wachs.

"The benefits are massive and the costs will be very small," Wachs said. "When we’re talking about the impact on our residents’ bills, we’re talking about fractions on the penny."

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Up to 600 panels will be installed next month by PG&E in three areas of AT&T Park: above awnings along the Portwalk, on a newly erected canopy over the Willie Mays pedestrian ramp and on the roof of the Giants’ team office building.

"The whole initiative was inspired by theAll-Star Game," Mayor Gavin Newsom said about the solar power installation at the ballpark. "It’s high-profile, and we’ll get international attention. It’s something we can showcase that will hopefully lead by example."

"If it benefits San Francisco, San Francisco should pay for it, not the ratepayers," said Barbara Meskunas, the head of the San Francisco Taxpayers Union.

The All-Star Game generally draws hundreds of thousands of people to the multiday event, but it will also bring worldwide media attention to San Francisco.

AT&T Park will be the first ballpark in Major League Baseball to install a solar system. The City owns and operates the nation’s largest city-owned solar project, atop the Moscone Convention Center, as well as a solar system on the Southeast Wastewater Treatment Plant.


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Bonnie Eslinger

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