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San Francisco [email protected] Program to Help Businesses Go Solar

The World Resources Institute (WRI) in conjuncture with the San Francisco Department of the Environment (SF Environment) has set in motion a program to help San Francisco businesses afford solar photovoltaic panels. [email protected] is a group-purchasing program for the business community that was created "to secure discounted solar pricing for commercial building owners, provide an affordable solar financing option, and stimulate local economic development."

SF Environment found that San Francisco commercial property owners site high upfront costs and insufficient financing as the biggest roadblocks which stop them from installing solar. The WRI, a global organization advocating social and environmental responsibility, has found that group solar purchasing in the residential sector greatly reduces costs and increases community participation in solar energy. SF Environment proposed the [email protected] plan for businesses, which combines multiple properties into one solar purchasing group, as a way to remove financing barriers they identified in the commercial community in San Francisco.

Group/ "aggregated" purchasing leverages companies’ combined buying power, leading to lower upfront costs for solar photovoltaic equipment and lower interest rates for solar lease programs. As with other group-discount models, the more businesses that sign up, the lower the prices go for the group.

The [email protected] program is set to launch July 13, 2011 at the North America Intersolar conference in San Francisco.  SF Environment is currently seeking commercial property owners to participate in the program.  All interested parties should contact SF Environment. Qualified applicants must meet the following criteria:

* be an owner-occupied commercial property (residential and government facilities are not currently eligible).

* have maximum of 3 stories and an average electrical load;

* have available space on their roof or parking area of 5000 ft2 or more with no major shading; and

* have no plans for major repairs or renovations in the next 15 years to the potential installation areas.

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