When it comes to a commitment to solar energy, San Francisco is serious. With nearly twice as many sunny days a year as rain, Northern California has got a lot going for it in terms of harvesting the power of the sun. From downtown San Francisco, to Marin County, the East Bay, and beyond, communities are rallying around the environmental and budget friendly benefits of going solar.
San Francisco proper boasts one of the largest solar photovoltaic systems in California, topping the city’s sun loving solar capacity to 7 megawatts. With incentives a plenty, San Francisco makes it as painless as possible to go solar for energy and hot water whether your dwelling is commercial or residential. You can check out the city’s own solar energy map here.
I am proud to say our own home rocks the solar panel for heating our household water. While we haven’t gone fully solar yet the benefits of even just one panel to heat hot water has had significant impact on our household energy consumption and cost. With a toddler and two dogs, let’s just say we do a lot of laundry! It is pretty common to find your Northern California neighbors using solar for everything from managing all the household energy needs to heating hot water and running automatic sprinkler systems. When it comes to harvesting the sun, we can get pretty creative.
The Bay Area’s commitment to solar energy doesn’t stop with residential and commercial spaces. San Francisco and many Bay Area counties use solar energy to help power government offices and schools. The World Champion San Francisco Giants even use solar to help power AT&T Park. Way back in 2007, the Giants were the first Major League Baseball team to install solar panels on a ballpark. The 590 solar panels on the outside of the park provide San Francisco Pacific Gas & Electric customers with over 120 kilowatts of energy. Thanks Giants!
Silicon Valley giants like Google set the green goal pretty high by using solar energy to power their city like offices and power grids. In 2007 Google installed a 1.7 MW solar panel system. The largest corporate solar installation of its kind, it produces enough energy to power 30% of the buildings on its grid.
While we still have a ways to go before the Bay Area can produce most of our energy consumption by green measures, I’ve got to give it up to my creative Nor Cal neighbors for making the most of that California sunshine!