San Francisco Runs on the Sun

July 31st, 2013

When it comes to solar power, talk is cheap. To truly understand the benefits of solar, websites and product demos can only go so far—you need to hit the streets and take in the bustle of a busy café, the whirr of the coffee grinders, the whisper-quiet hum of electric cars speeding by—and know that all of it’s powered by the sun. Recently, a tour through San Francisco did just that, giving guests a chance to really see solar in action.

Luminalt collaborated with Intersolar 2013 and NorCal Solar to showcase how solar is becoming more and more relevant in everyday living—namely a café in the Crissy Field Center and an upscale green apartment on Hayes Street in the Hayes Valley neighborhood in San Francisco.

Hosted by Luminalt, the tours included stops at the Crissy Field Center Café which highlighted PV and solar hot water, as well as several small experimental wind turbines and a green apartment on Hayes Street that boasts PV, solar hot water, and EV charging.

The tour group was composed from attendees of Intersolar 2013 and hailed from many different countries—some of whom had never visited San Francisco.

With the Golden Gate Bridge arcing across from the horizon, the initial stop at Crissy Field was spectacular, allowing the group was able to witness first-hand how solar energy functions in a bustling café. August Goers, Luminalt co-owner and Vice President of Engineering, led the tour while giving insight into the nuances of solar equipment and technology.

Tom Odgers from the Parks Conservancy was also on hand to share information about the wind turbines and the construction of the café. “While I found it exciting that the café was a LEED-rated building, there were fewer questions about the café’s green building features and more about the wind turbines and solar electronics,” notes Elaine Hebert, a tour attendee and board member from NorCal Solar.

The second tour stop joined attendees at the Hayes Street apartment building, and were fortunate to have both Goers and the green-minded building owner Linda Erkelens in attendance.

In addition to providing solar hot water systems for her tenants, Linda also provides bicycle racks and an electric car charger in the shared garage—a few simple ways to show that solar is indeed a welcome fit into meeting lifestyles and everyday living. And from the building’s roof, attendees we were able to view a number of other solar installations on neighboring roofs, as well—which was inspiring proof that solar energy is indeed the wave of the future.