San Rafael, Calif.-based Real Goods Solar recently signed a large multi-site contract to design and install 790kW DC of solar electricity across four separate affordable housing communities: three in San Francisco and one in Richmond, Calif. The photovoltaic (PV) systems will be financed through a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA), enabling the properties to use solar-generated power without the upfront capital costs or operational expenses. Upfront installation costs have been significantly reduced by San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom's GoSolarSF solar energy incentive program and the California Solar Initiative Multi-Family Affordable Solar Housing (MASH) Rebate Program.

This multi-million dollar investment is expected to generate 1,090,311 kilowatt hours of electricity for the residents of these communities, ensuring lower electricity rates for years to come. California’s new Virtual Net Metering tariff will allow the electricity and cost savings to be shared among the resident families as well as the common areas, a first for California.

"This project provides us the opportunity to showcase our strengths at Real Goods Solar, from expert installation to education to renewable energy living," says John Schaeffer, founder and president of Real Goods Solar. "Richmond and San Francisco will have beautiful systems that will produce low-cost power for decades to come and allow them to be an example for sustainability and green-collar jobs in the community."

Through the San Francisco City Build and Solar Richmond workforce training programs, approximately 36 workers who were previously unemployed will work installing the systems.