The San Francisco Department of the Environment (SFE) has launched the San Francisco Solar Map, which allows residents to see who has solar panels in the city and to learn about environmental and economic benefits of solar power, Government Technology reports.
The solar mapping complements the green initiatives of San Francisco, which has set the goal of curbing carbon emissions to 20 per cent below 1990 levels by 2012.
The city aims to have 10,000 commercial and residential buildings fitted with solar panels by the year. Currently, there are reportedly around 870 solar buildings city-wide.
“We wanted something that would help people in San Francisco, that would break down some myths about installing solar in San Francisco, and then offer a tool to people who were interested in solar but didn’t really know how to take the first step,” renewable energy program manager of the Department of the Environment, Johanna Partin told Government Technology.
The project, a joint initiative between the SFE and engineering firm CH2M HILL, maps existing solar installations, integrating aerial photography, a geographic information system and rebate-related resources.
The map also shows characteristics of each installation, such as panel cost and size, power output, the installer, along with photos and testimonials posted by the building owner.
CH2M HILL client solutions director Dave Hermann told Government Technology that the program could not only identify shading obstacles on the roof, including skylights and taller building in the vicinity, but also calculate the level of greenhouse gas abatement achieved through the system.
According to the report, San Francisco is yet to receive community feedback that the mapping initiative actually led to photovoltaic installation.
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