The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted 8-3 on Tuesday afternoon to usher in the largest municipal solar-incentive program in the United States.
The move clears the path for a 10-year program intended to provide between $2 million and $5 million of subsidies for solar installations annually.
The program will take effect this year after Mayor Gavin Newsom signs it into law.
The incentive would provide $3,000 to $6,000 for residential solar installations, and up to $10,000 for commercial properties.
While San Francisco enjoys a green reputation, solar isn't necessarily its strong suit. Currently, privately and publicly owned solar systems make up the city's 5-megawatts of installed solar capacity, according to Assessor-Recorder Phil Ting.
The board had attempted to pass an incentive program before, but squabbles about how much to spend and other issues delayed its adoption (see Solar Setback in San Francisco).
The 10-year-incentive program could help the city reach up to 50 megawatts of installed solar capacity over the next decade, Ting said.
"It's going to rely on consumers, property owners and citizens that want to take the next step and put solar on their roofs," Ting said.
With the existing state and federal incentives, the city’s new program will provide added incentives for residential and business building owners. In fact, a solar system for a single-family home could cost half of an estimated $25,000 if the homeowner takes advantage of all three sources of help.
On Tuesday, the board also voted 10-1 for a 1-year pilot program that would provide $1.5 million to help install solar panels at low-income homes and buildings owned by nonprofit organizations.
If the board passes the legislation in a second reading next week, it will then make it's way to Newsom, who will decide if he wants to sign it into law.