GoSolarSF: Economic & Environmental Impacts

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In 2008, the City and County of San Francisco adopted GoSolarSF, an incentive and workforce development program designed to help San Francisco become a leader in solar power, expand solar savings and job opportunities to underserved families, reduce the need for polluting fossil fuel power plants, and help achieve the City’s clean energy and climate goals. This report summarizes the market, economic and environmental benefits of solar energy systems installed or in the queue for the GoSolarSF program as of April 2014.

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GoSolarSF: Economic & Environmental Impacts

  1. 1. Executive  Summary   In  2008,  the  City  and  County  of  San  Francisco  adopted  GoSolarSF,  an  incentive  and  workforce   development  program  designed  to  help  San  Francisco  become  a  leader  in  solar  power,  expand  solar   savings  and  job  opportunities  to  underserved  families,  reduce  the  need  for  polluting  fossil  fuel   power  plants,  and  help  achieve  the  City’s  clean  energy  and  climate  goals.  This  report  summarizes   the  market,  economic  and  environmental  benefits  of  solar  energy  systems  installed  or  in  the  queue   for  the  GoSolarSF  program  as  of  April  2014.     Solar  Market  Development:   • More  than  3,070  solar  energy  systems  on  San  Francisco  homes,  businesses,  non-­‐profits  and   local  government  facilities   • Nearly  10,160  kW  of  total  solar  capacity     • 37%  of  residential  capacity  (kW)  on  qualifying  low-­‐income  single-­‐family  and  multi-­‐family   homes     Economic  Development:   • Installations  driving  $65  million  in  investment  in  the  local  San  Francisco  economy   • Installations  supporting  more  than  400  local  jobs  and  $19.5-­‐$22.8  million  in  wages  that  can   be  reinvested  in  the  local  economy     • Workforce  Development  program  providing  121  direct  solar  job  placements  for  San   Francisco  residents  who  otherwise  face  barriers  to  employment     • Workers  of  color  representing  the  largest  populations  served  by  the  Workforce   Development  program  with  40%  Black/African  American  and  22%  Latino/Hispanic  job   placements   • 31  solar  companies  participating  in  the  local  Workforce  Development  program   • National  solar  leaders  have  chosen  employ  hundreds  of  local  workers  because  of  GoSolarSF   and  the  City's  nationally-­‐recognized  culture  of  solar  policy  innovation     Environmental  Benefits:   • Reducing  greenhouse  gas  emissions  by  more  than  172,631,800  pounds  over  the  lifetime  of   installed  systems,  helping  meet  the  City’s  climate  action  goals   • Reducing  the  need  for  fossil-­‐based  peak  power  generation,  which  has  historically   disproportionately  impacted  the  health  of  low-­‐income  families     GoSolarSF  has  encouraged  significant  private  investment  in  San  Francisco’s  local  solar  market,  which   has  delivered  economic  and  environmental  benefits  to  the  greater  community.  The  landmark  solar   program  has  given  thousands  of  San  Francisco  energy  consumers  control  over  their  electricity   sources  and  utility  bills  by  making  solar  power  a  cost-­‐effective  option.  The  program’s  focus  on   empowering  low-­‐income  and  underserved  members  of  the  community  to  participate  in  and  benefit   from  the  city’s  growing  solar  economy  has  proven  particularly  successful.  GoSolarSF  has  helped   make  San  Francisco  a  national  leader  on  clean  energy,  green  jobs  and  climate  action.   GoSolarSF:   Environmental  &  Economic  Impacts    
  2. 2. Introduction   Across  the  country  and  around  the  world,  the  race  is  on  to  build  local  solar  power  markets  -­‐  vibrant   new  hubs  of  job  creation,  energy  innovation  and  economic  opportunity.  In  2008,  the  Mayor,  the   Board  of  Supervisors  and  the  SFPUC  Commission  adopted  GoSolarSF,  a  solar  incentive  and   workforce  development  program  to  help  San  Francisco  become  a  leader  in  this  new  energy   economy.       The  program  was  designed  to  achieve  the  following  goals:   • Encourage  the  installation  of  solar  power  systems  by  homeowners,  businesses  and  non-­‐ profit  organizations  (including  local  government)  through  a  one-­‐time  incentive  payment  to   reduce  solar  project  costs     • Support  solar  projects  for  low-­‐income  households  and  installations  in  San  Francisco’s   environmental  justice  zip  codes  94107  and  94124   • Provide  quality  job  opportunities  to  San  Francisco  residents  who  face  barriers  to  such   employment  through  a  Workforce  Development  program   • Deliver  additional  economic,  climate  and  public  health  benefits  by  making  San  Francisco  a   leader  in  our  nation’s  growing  solar  industry     GoSolarSF  is  administered  by  the  San  Francisco  Public  Utilities  Commission  (SFPUC)  Power   Enterprise  and  is  based  on  the  Solar  Energy  Incentive  Program  ordinance,  which  outlines  a  10-­‐year   program  with  the  objective  of  a  budget  of  $2  million  to  $5  million  annually.       This  report  quantifies  market,  economic  and  environment  impacts  of  the  GoSolarSF  from  its   inception  through  April  2014.       Solar  Market  Development:   Stable,  transparent  incentive  programs  can  help  lower  the  cost  of  going  solar  for  customers  and   build  a  strong  local  solar  marketplace  that  further  drives  down  costs.  GoSolarSF  provides  one-­‐time   incentive  payments  to  spur  solar  installations  on  San  Francisco  homes,  businesses  and  non-­‐profit   organizations  (including  local  government  facilities).       Since  2008,  the  GoSolarSF  program  has  provided  $19.4  million  in  market-­‐building  incentives.  In  that   time,  the  program  has  resulted  in  the  installation  of  more  than  2,761  solar  energy  systems  on  San   Francisco  homes,  businesses,  non-­‐profits  and  local  government  facilities,  with  an  additional  310   systems  in  the  queue  to  receive  GoSolarSF  incentives.  Those  3,701  total  systems  represent  nearly   10,160  kilowatts  (kW)  of  installed  capacity.  Annual  installations  have  varied  by  fiscal  year  as   program  funding  has  varied  with  market  demand  often  exceeding  available  incentives.     Year   2008   2009   2010   2011   2012   2013   2014   (April)   TOTAL   Systems   362   710   362   475   348   580   234   3071     GoSolarSF:  Number  of  Systems  Installed  or  In  Queue  
  3. 3. Low-­‐Income  Focus:   The  GoSolarSF  program  provides  additional  solar  incentives  for  low-­‐income  single-­‐  and  multi-­‐family   homes  and  in  the  city’s  economic  justice  zip  codes.  These  provisions  are  designed  to  ensure  that   utility  bill  savings  and  the  other  benefits  of  going  solar  are  accessible  to  disadvantaged  families  who   need  them  most.     Program  data  shows  that  GoSolarSF’s  has  proven  successful  in  making  solar  accessible  to  low-­‐ income  San  Francisco  families.  Fully  37%  of  the  total  residential  capacity  installed  or  in  the  queue   for  the  program  to  date  has  been  on  qualifying  low-­‐income  properties.     General  Residendal   63%   Single-­‐Family  Low-­‐ Income   16%   Muld-­‐Family  Low-­‐ Income   21%   GoSolarSF:  Residential  Installed  Capacity  (kW)   GoSolarSF  Benefits  Those  Who  Need  It  Most     ESPANOLA  JACKSON,  a  community  and  environmental  justice  advocate  for  more  than  50  years,  is   affectionately  referred  to  as  “The  Godmother  of  Hunters  Point.”    She  is  a  veteran  of  decades  of  on-­‐the-­‐ ground  efforts  to  shut  down  polluting  power  plants  in  San  Francisco’s  southeast  neighborhoods  and  is  proud   to  be  one  of  the  first  homeowners  to  utilize  GoSolarSF’s  low-­‐income  incentive.       “Back  in  early  2009  I  read  in  the  paper  that  low-­‐income  San  Franciscans  were  not  utilizing  the  solar  incentive   that  is  available  to  those  of  modest  means,”  said  Jackson.    “I’m  retired  on  a  fixed  income  so  I  called  up   [environmental  justice  non-­‐profit]  Brightline  to  help  me  put  together  my  low-­‐income  application  to  go  solar.”       A  few  months  later,  Jackson  helped  kicked  off   a  solar  revolution  in  the  Bayview  Hunters   Point  community  with  the  help  of  local  solar   company  Luminalt  and  non-­‐profit  installer   GRID  Alternatives.           Jackson  has  paid  an  average  of  less  than  $10  a   month  for  her  electricity  ever  since  and  she   remains  one  of  GoSolarSF’s  strongest   supporters,  even  testifying  before  the   California  state  legislature  about  the  impact   that  solar  has  had  on  her  community.   “We  made  a  community  celebration  out  of  it   on  Memorial  Day  weekend  with  a  barbecue   and  free  solar  training  for  15  local  young   people  thanks  to  Luminalt  and  GRID.    “It   was  all  over  the  news  and  within  a  month,   my  neighbors  and  people  all  across  Hunters   Point  were  applying  for  their  own  solar   power.”   -­‐-­‐  Espanola  Jackson,  Solar  Customer  
  4. 4. Economic  Development:   Investment  in  distributed  solar  ensures  that  energy  dollars  stay  in  the  community  and  deliver   returns  throughout  the  local  economy.  GoSolarSF  was  intended  to  leverage  public  incentive  dollars   to  unlock  such  private  investment  the  community.     Solar  energy  systems  that  have  been  installed   or  are  in  the  queue  to  participate  in  the   GoSolarSF  program  will  drive  $65  million  in  total   public-­‐private  investment.  That  means,  on   average,  every  $1  of  public  funds  provided  by   the  City  has  resulted  in  a  $3.35  investment  in   the  local  San  Francisco  economy.       Job  Creation:   Solar  creates  more  jobs  per  energy  unit  than   any  other  electricity  resource.  The  majority  of   solar’s  tremendous  job  creation  opportunity  is   related  to  project  development  and  installation,   representing  employment  opportunities  that   are  inherently  local  to  the  communities  they   serve.  These  are  high-­‐quality  jobs  across  a  range   of  education  requirements  and  sectors.     GoSolarSF  Drives  Local  Business  Growth     JEANINE  COTTER  is  the  co-­‐founder  and  CEO  of  San  Francisco-­‐based  solar  installer  Luminalt.  Founded  in  2004,   Luminalt  is  San  Francisco’s  only  certified  Women  Business  Enterprise  solar  installer.  The  company  has   installed  more  San  Francisco  solar  systems  than  any  other  installer  based  on  California’s  solar  incentive   program  data.  “We  build  high  performing  beautiful  solar  systems  with  talented  well  trained  installers  and   office  support,  many  of  whom  came  to  Luminalt  through  local  training  organizations  that  work  with   disadvantaged  communities”  says  Cotter.       Luminalt  was  the  first  San  Francisco  installer  to  become   GoSolarSF  workforce  development-­‐certified.  GoSolarSF   local  hiring  guidelines  have  led  to  121  jobs  for   disadvantaged  San  Franciscans  at  companies  such  as   Luminalt,  SolarCity,  Occidental  Power,  and  Real  Goods   Solar.    For  a  250  kW  installation  at  Fort  Mason,  Luminalt   partnered  with  the  Laborers  Unions  to  build  one  of  San   Francisco’s  biggest  solar  projects  in  recent  years.       “There  is  a  wealth  of  talent  that  is  untapped  and  often   overlooked  in  neighborhoods  that  have  been  plagued  by   income  disparity,  joblessness  and  environmental   degradation,”  says  Jeanine  one  of  few  women  who  holds  a   California  solar  specialty  contractor’s  license,  “GoSolarSF   creates  jobs  for  these  individuals  and  grows  the  local  solar   economy.”   19.4   65   GoSolarSF  Incendve   Total  Solar  Investment   Local  Investment:  $  (Millions)   “San  Francisco  continues  to   innovate  with  programs  that   drive  objectives  which  we  care   about  as  a  community.  GoSolarSF   is  unlike  any  solar  incentive   program  in  the  country.  It  makes   solar  possible  for  low-­‐income   customers,  non-­‐profits,  tenants,   and  businesses  while  creating   good  local  jobs.”     -­‐-­‐  Jeanine  Cotter,  Business  Owner  
  5. 5. Based  on  an  approximate  average  labor  costs  on  qualifying  installations,  systems  installed  or  in  the   queue  for  GoSolarSF  have  directly  supported  406-­‐474  solar  jobs  and  $19.5-­‐$22.8  million  in  solar   wages.1  National  solar  leaders  such  as  Sunrun  have  chosen  to  headquarter  in  San  Francisco  and   employ  hundreds  of  local  workers  because  of  GoSolarSF  and  the  City's  nationally  recognized  culture   of  solar  policy  innovation.  The  program  has  also  supported  additional  indirect  jobs  and  economic   activity  through  a  multiplier  effect,  as  those  solar  wages  are  largely  spent  within  the  community  at   local  businesses.       Workforce  Development:   In  addition  to  tapping  into  solar’s  general  job   creation  ability,  the  GoSolarSF  program  is   intended  to  provide  a  pathway  to  employment   in  the  sector  for  disadvantaged  residents.  As   such,  installations  receiving  GoSolarSF  incentive   payments  must  be  performed  by  contractors   employing  graduates  of  the  City’s  Workforce   Development  Program.  This  requirement  does   not  apply  to  non-­‐profit  installers  or  to  installers   with  three  or  fewer  employees  operating  their   principal  place  of  business  in  San  Francisco.     To  date,  GoSolarSF’s  Workforce  Development  program  has  provided  121  solar  job  placements  for   San  Francisco  residents  who  otherwise  face  barriers  to  employment.  Thirty-­‐one  solar  companies   have  hired  graduates  of  this  community  based  job-­‐training  program.  Workers  of  color  represented   the  largest  populations  served  by  the  Workforce  Development  program  with  40%  of  job  placements   reporting  as  Black  or  African  American  and  22%  reporting  as  Latino  or  Hispanic.  2   GoSolarSF  Creates  Jobs  for  Disadvantaged  San  Franciscans       ASIAN  NEIGHBORHOOD  DESIGN  (AND)  was  founded  in  1973  by  a  group  of  UC  Berkeley  architecture  students   determined  to  improve  living  conditions  for  low-­‐income  immigrant  families  and  seniors  in  San  Francisco  and   Oakland  Chinatowns.    AND’s  Employment  Training  Center  (ETC)  was  established  five  years  later  with  a  goal  of   providing  job  training  to  at-­‐risk  jobseekers  with  barriers  to   employment.    Since  2008,  the  ETC’s  green  construction   training  program  has  been  the  most  successful  launching   pad  for  economically  disadvantaged  workers  seeking  jobs   through  GoSolarSF.     In  fact,  more  than  half  of  GoSolarSF’s  121  workforce   development  hires  to  date  are  AND  graduates.  Graduates   of  AND’s  14-­‐week  green  construction  training  program   have  found  employment  with  solar  companies  such  as   Luminalt,  SolarCity,  Sungevity,  and  Real  Goods.    AND  has   helped  elevate  GoSolarSF’s  profile  as  not  only  a  successful   solar  program  but  a  job  generator  for  low-­‐income   communities  of  color  and  workers  that  policy  makers  seek   to  serve  in  advancing  equity  in  the  green  economy.   “We’re  proud  of  our  track  record   of  delivering  on  the  promise  of   equal  opportunity  in  the  green   economy.  GoSolarSF  is  a   workforce  development  program   that  has  created  green  jobs  that   have  helped  80%  of  our   graduates  secure  employment   within  6  months.”     -­‐-­‐  Erica  Sklar,   AND  Executive  Director  
  6. 6.   End  Notes:   1  Estimated  based  on  an  approximate  30-­35%  labor  costs  on  covered  installations  and  an  average  $48,000  annual   salary  for  full-­time  employment   2  SF  OEWD  program  data   3NAACP,  “Just  Energy  Policies:  Reducing  Pollution  and  Creating  Jobs,"  2013.   4  20-­year  production  total  based  off  of  .5%/year  degradation,  assumptions  from  PV  Watts,  and  using  PGE  ClimateSmart  GHG   emissions  factor  (0.524  lbs  CO2  per  kWh)       Prepared  June  2014     Report  Authors:   Rosalind  Jackson,  Vote  Solar   Kevin  Armstrong,  Vote  Solar     Acknowledgements:     Brightline  Defense     Luminalt     Photo  Credits:  Luminalt,  Bob  Carmichael     Thank  you  to  the  San  Francisco  Public  Utilities  Commission  and  San  Francisco  Office  of  Workforce   Development  for  providing  GoSolarSF  incentive  participation  and  workforce  data.       About  Vote  Solar:   Headquartered  in  San  Francisco  since  2002,  Vote  Solar  is  a  non-­‐profit  grassroots  organization  working  to   make  solar  a  mainstream  energy  resource  across  the  U.S.  www.votesolar.org   Environmental  Benefits:   Clean,  reliable  electricity  from  the  sun  reduces   the  need  for  fossil  power  generation,  a  major   source  of  greenhouse  gas  emissions  and  other   harmful  air  pollution.       The  solar  energy  systems  installed  through   GoSolarSF  reduce  the  need  for  fossil-­‐based   peak  power  generation,  which  has  historically   disproportionately  impacted  the  health  of  low-­‐ income  families.  3  Assuming  a  minimum  20-­‐year   system  lifetime,  systems  installed  or  in  the   queue  for  GoSolarSF  will  also  reduce  harmful  carbon  pollution  by  172,631,800  pounds.  4  Because   the  City  retains  the  renewable  energy  credits  generated  by  the  program,  GoSolarSF  provides  a  real   economic  and  regulatory  compliance  value  as  San  Francisco  seeks  to  meet  its  climate  action  goals.    

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