Energy Commission Approves New Solar Rule for San Francisco and Guidelines for New Solar Homes Partnership
The California Energy Commission recently approved the adoption of San Francisco building energy standards that require solar systems on new construction. The standards require all newly constructed residential occupancy buildings of 10 floors or less, and newly constructed non-residential occupancy buildings of 10 floors or less, and greater than 2,000 square feet in gross floor area, to install solar photovoltaic systems or solar thermal systems. The Energy Commission establishes statewide building standards and must approve local ordinances that have more stringent requirements.
The Energy Commission also approved updates to guidelines for California’s Solar Electric Incentive Programs, which provide the framework for programs established by Senate Bill (SB) 1, which included the California Solar Initiative (CSI), the New Solar Homes Partnership (NSHP) program, and the publicly-owned utility programs. SB 1 directs the Energy Commission to develop eligibility criteria, conditions for incentives, and rating standards required to qualify for California’s solar electric ratepayer-funded incentives.
The NSHP program, which provides incentives for solar on new residential buildings, recently received more than $111 million in new funds from investor-owned utility customers to continue the program. The updated guidelines address new energy efficiency standards and a maturing solar industry. As of December 31, 2016, the NSHP will be one of the last remaining active state solar programs. The Energy Commission approved a loan of more than $700,000 to the Waterford Unified School District to finance energy efficiency projects at two schools. The projects involve interior and exterior lighting retrofits. The project will save 375 kilowatt hours of electricity annually and reduce about 129 tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually.
The Sanger Unified School District received a $500,000 grant to install and operate a compressed natural gas (CNG) fast-fill fueling station at its transportation facility. The grant from the Energy Commission will allow the district to increase its ability to refuel a fleet of CNG school buses and the CNG bus fleet to expand. The project includes a fuel management card reader system so that other districts and public agencies can use the station.