Translation Disclaimer

Mayor's Office
Mayor's Office

A Model Green City


Tom in city car share vehicle

Over the past several years, Berkeley has regularly been named among the greenest and most sustainable cities in the United States.

Berkeley was recently ranked as one of the top five cities best situated to lead the “Clean Tech” economy.


July 20, 2009: Berkeley recently received awards for its commitment to sustainable policies and practices. 
Environment California awarded the City of Berkeley with a "2009 Solar Champion" award for having one of the largest numbers of solar roofs in the state. According to Environment California, Berkeley has more than 648 solar roofs totaling 2821 kilowatts of solar power capacity. 
The City of Berkeley was also honored by NorCal Solar at the 2009 Intersolar Conference. We received the 1st place award for the number of solar systems installed/per capita in all of Northern California.  According to the report we have 1.06 solar systems installed per 1000 people.  This is 3 times as many installations as in Oakland and almost 5 times more than in San Francisco.

Finally, San Francisco Business Times awarded us the Green Municipality Award and Mother Nature News Network awarded us the 7th greenest city in the U.S. Mother Nature Network recognized Berkeley "as being a leader in the incubation of clean technology for wind power, solar power, biofuels and hydropower."


  • 9/08: Berkeley Mayor Bates Receives United Nations “Americas Award for Excellence" 2008
  • 9/08: Berkeley created the first Sustainable Energy Financing District - See NY Times Article
  • In 2005, the City of Berkeley was named the third most sustainable city in the nation by SustainLane
  • The U.S. Secretary of Energy announced that Berkeley was one of 13 cities in the United States to be selected as a ‘Solar America City.  The selection, which was based on a highly competitive national review, means Berkeley is in line for up to $200,000 in direct funding as well as technical assistance and other resources to develop and launch a comprehensive solar power and energy efficiency program in the City.
  • Berkeley’s innovative partnership with City CarShare and its Residential Energy Conservation Ordinance, were highlighted in New Energy for Cities, a report released in 2006 by the Apollo Alliance.
  • The City of Berkeley and transportation planner Matt Nichols were awarded innovators of the year by City Car Share for their pioneering work on their city fleet replacement project.
  • Mayor Tom Bates was awarded the 2008 Solar Summit Award for Berkeley’s renewable energy initiatives.
  • The City of Berkeley was chosen to present at the 2008 Transforming Local Government Conference on its community climate protection efforts.


City of Berkeley's Environmental Policies


First Two Berkeley Homes Go Solar with Berkeley’s Innovative Financing Program 
March 2, 2009

The sun will shine a little brighter on Friday morning as Mayor Tom Bates joind city officials, private sector partners, and two homeowners to celebrate the financing of the first two solar systems through BerkeleyFIRST.

Ms. Jeanne Pimentel of Allston Way and Mr. Aaron Mann of Grizzly Peak will be on hand as the first two Berkeley homeowners participating in the program to complete their solar installations. Mayor Bates will hand deliver the first check to Aaron Mann who had his system installed by Sungevity.  Jeanne Pimentel’s system was installed by Borrego Solar and will receive her check shortly.  Both Sungevity and Borrego Solar are Berkeley-based businesses.

Through Berkeley FIRST, participating property owners can pay for the cost of a new solar system through a line item on their property tax bill over 20 years. The program, which launched in November of last year, has received international attention and is being replicated in cities and states across the country.  Slots for the first $1.5 million round of Berkeley FIRST funding “sold out” nine minutes after the application period opened.  The first cohort of Berkeley FIRST applicants has until September 2009 to install their solar systems.



Berkeley Mayor Bates Receives United Nations “Americas Award for Excellence 2008
September 17, 2008





Mayor Bates at Sunpower

The same day the Berkeley City Council unanimously approved the first-in-the-nation Energy Efficiency and Solar Financing District, Mayor Bates was selected as the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) 2008 Americas Award Laureate for Excellence in Environmental Sustainability. The UNITAR Selection Committee recognized Mayor Bates because of his “efforts and outstanding work in implementing climate protection strategies”. The Berkeley Climate Action Campaign is cited as “a best practice on how a community-based effort has served to identify and implement strategies that achieve Berkeley’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction target”.








Berkeley's Financing Initiative for Renewable and Solar Technology (FIRST) Clears Another Hurdle

New York Times: Berkeley Approves City-Backed Loans for Solar Panels 
September 16, 2008
"The Berkeley City Council late Tuesday unanimously approved a program to give city-backed loans to property owners who install rooftop solar-power systems. The loans, likely to total up to $22,000 apiece, would be paid off over 20 years as part of the owners’ property-tax bills."

KGO News Video: Berkeley Encourages Residents to Go Solar 
September 16, 2008
A unanimous vote in Berkeley on Tuesday night lights the way for that city to be the first in the nation to make solar panels affordable. The mayor says San Francisco, San Jose, even cities as far away as Annapolis, Maryland are interested in following Berkeley's lead.

New breed of leaders go far, fast
Sustainable Industries Magazine
June 9, 2008

Mayor Tom Bates, who began his term as mayor of Berkeley in 2002, formed a sustainable business team dedicated to building the city’s “green” economy. The team includes more than 200 green businesses. Mayor Bates also reached beyond his electoral base and engaged with other municipal leaders to initiate a region-wide plan. Mayor Bates created a special assessment district to provide financing to citizens and businesses that install solar photovoltaic panels, which would then be paid back from slight increases to the property taxes of participating landowners. Mayor Bates proves that leadership can help grow an economy, support local businesses and improve community well-being.

Study Ranks Berkeley Second ’Greenest’ City In California

berkeley collage

A recent study by researchers at UCLA has affirmed Berkeley’s reputation as being one of the country’s most environmentally conscious cities.   The report, titled "Green Market Geography," ranks Berkeley as one of California’s "greenest" cities, second only to its northern neighbor, Albany.   The report, authored by UCLA economics professor Matthew Kahn and graduate student Ryan Vaughn, was based largely on political data comparing California cities’ voting records on environmental issues. 

Home | Web Policy | Text-Only Site Map | Contact Us
Mayor's Office, 2180 Milvia Street 5th Floor, Berkeley, CA 94704
Questions or comments? Email: Phone: (510) 981-7100
(510) 981-CITY/2489 or 311 from any landline in Berkeley
TTY: (510) 981-6903