City of San Francisco - Renewable Energy Purchasing

December 14, 2011

Summary

On November 6, 2001, San Francisco voters passed Propositions B and H, supporting renewable energy through bonds to fund solar and wind projects. The legislation will allow the City to sell $100 million in revenue bonds to fund solar and wind projects which will supply electricity to city agencies and will authorize the City to raise additional funds for renewable projects without voter approval.

Proposition B is a direct bond appropriation of $100 million for renewable energy installation, as well as conservation, on public properties. It is expected to provide for about 10-12 megawatts of solar and approximately 30 megawatts of wind generation. Proposition H changes the city charter so that general revenue bonds can be used for renewable energy and conservation measures and can be approved directly by the City’s board of supervisors, instead of having a new ballot proposition every time a new purchase is needed.

Of the $100 million, $50 million will be spent to install solar arrays on schools and other city-owned facilities and $30 million will be spent to place wind turbines on city and county-owned properties. The remainder will be spent on energy conservation and costs associated with the projects and issuing the bonds. The Moscone Center project is the first project to result from these propositions. With a capacity of 675 kW, the PV system on the Moscone Center roof produces a minimum of 825,000 kWh annually.

Although the bonds may be used for photovoltaic, solar thermal electric, wind, and fuel cell applications, projects have included only photovoltaic and wind systems thus far. Under the measure, bonds can be issued only to pay for facilities whose electricity would not cost more than the expected cost of electricity from existing energy sources. The City will repay the principal and interest on the bonds from the revenue generated and saved by the proposed facilities. Because the bonds will be repaid in this manner, the measure will not result in higher taxes.

Program Overview

Implementing Sector: Local
Category: Regulatory Policy
State: California
Incentive Type: Green Power Purchasing
Web Site: http://sfwater.org/mc_main.cfm/MC_ID/12
Administrator:
Start Date:
Eligible Renewable/Other Technologies:
  • Solar Thermal Electric
  • Solar Photovoltaics
  • Wind (All)
  • Fuel Cells using Non-Renewable Fuels
  • Yes; specific technologies not identified
  • Wind (Small)
  • Fuel Cells using Renewable Fuels
Renewables % or Amount: Approximately 10 MW solar and 30 MW wind
Source: Local solar and wind installations

Authorities

Name: Proposition B
Date Enacted: November 2001
Name: Proposition H
Date Enacted: November 2001

Contact

Name: Public Information - SFPUC
Organization: San Francisco Public Utilities Commission
Address: 1155 Market St., 4th floor
San Francisco CA 94103
Phone: (415) 554-3155
Email: info@sfwater.org

This information is sourced from DSIRE; the most comprehensive source of information on incentives and policies that support renewables and energy efficiency in the United States. Established in 1995, DSIRE is operated by the N.C. Clean Energy Technology Center at N.C. State University.