San Francisco's New Solar Power Array Will Triple Renewable Energy Capacity


photo simulation of completed project: Recurrent Energy

Here's another reason why San Francisco is rightly perceived as one of the greenest cities in the United States: The Board of Supervisors has approved a deal with Recurrent Energy that will bring a 5 MW solar power array to the Sunset:
The solar power array, which will be one of the largest municipal arrays in the country, will be built on top of San Francisco's largest reservoir, located at 24th and Ortega Streets. When completed it will consist of 25,000 solar panels and triple the city's renewable energy capacity. Construction is expected to begin later this summer to be completed in early 2010.

Power generated by the array will be fed into the grid, and is slated to be used by the General Hospital, San Francisco International Airport, Muni light rail, the city's public schools and streetlights.

Recurrent Owns the Array, SF Buys the Power
The project is being developed under a power purchase agreement between the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission and Recurrent Energy. At 7, 15 and 25 years of operation, the power purchase agreement can be reviewed and the city can opt to purchase the solar array from Recurrent Energy, at a price of $33 million or fair market value, whichever is higher.

Recurrent Can Claim Federal Tax Credits, the City Can't
As to why the city didn't simply build the array itself: By contracting with a private company to do the work, federal tax incentives worth 30% of total project costs can be claimed. Had the city done the work itself the total cost for the project would likely be in the range of $85 million, rather the $40 million the city initially estimated it would cost.

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Tags: California | Renewable Energy | San Francisco | Solar Power | United States