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Office of Energy & Sustainable Development (OESD)
Office of Energy & Sustainable Development (OESD)


The sun produces an abundance of free, clean, renewable energy. In fact, in just one hour, the sun generates more energy than the entire world uses in a year. Solar power harnesses this energy. Increasing the amount of clean renewable energy is a critical component of Berkeley community efforts to reduce greenhouse gases and grow the green economy. sun drawing

Reduce before you produce. The first step in any solar energy installation is to implement conservation measures to reduce energy use. Conservation reduces expenses, greenhouse gas emissions, and minimizes the size of your solar PV or solar thermal system. Check out resources for energy efficiency.  

Solar Rights Go Solar California summarizes state legislation on access to the sun for solar systems.

SunShares offers solar bulk purchasing and electric vehicle discounts to Bay Area residents every fall. Sunshares pools the buying power of residents, vets the contractors, and offers informational workshops. For more information, see

Solar for income-qualified homeowners: Non-profit GRID Alternatives offer low-to-no cost rooftop solar to low income households. Visit to learn more.

Financing: PACE Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing allows property owners to borrow money to pay for renewable-energy systems and/or energy efficiency improvements and spread the cost of the upgrade over a period of time.

What permits are required to install solar panels? Electrical permits are required for all solar PV installations. Building permits are only needed if structural work is necessary to support the solar PV system. Solar projects do not require zoning permits or design review. See Solar Permitting and Submittal Requirements.

SolSmart Gold LogoNews! City Wins 2018 SolSmart Award. The City of Berkeley's work to promote rooftop solar has been recognized with a SolSmart Gold Award, funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. The City was recognized for providing clear guidance for the public, streamlining permitting, training staff, and supporting group purchase programs like SunShares. Gold is the highest designation possible and requires 200 points to achieve – Berkeley earned 505 points! 


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Office of Energy & Sustainable Development (OESD), 1947 Center Street, 1st Floor, Berkeley, CA 94704
Questions or comments? Email: Phone: (510) 981-7465
(510) 981-CITY/2489 or 311 from any landline in Berkeley
TTY: (510) 981-6903