New Report from Environment California Highlights Diversity of L.A.’s Growing Solar Market

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Environment California Research & Policy Center

On Sunday, Environment California Research & Policy Center, with help from the Sierra Club, brought more than a hundred community leaders, homeowners, businesses, families, and students together to release a new report titled “Solar in the Spotlight: Stories of Angelenos Investing in a Clean Energy Future.” The new Environment California report is a one-of-its-kind collection of solar success stories from every part of Los Angeles, from a studio in Hollywood to a library in Pacoima, from a grocery store in Eagle Rock to an affordable housing development near Skid Row.

“These stories demonstrate the diversity of L.A.’s burgeoning solar market, which has grown by more than 800 percent over the last six years,” said Emily Kirkland, Clean Energy Associate at Environment California. “The report shows that L.A. is home to every type of solar project under the sun, from a solar-powered convent to a solar-powered car wash to a solar-powered convention center.”

Students from Betty Plasencia Elementary School opened Sunday’s meeting with solar-themed songs. State Sen. Kevin de León spoke about the benefits of clean energy for all Angelenos and the need to reach 20% local solar power by 2020.

“By reaching 20% local solar power, we can make Los Angeles into a world-class solar leader, clean the air, fight global warming, and create thousands of good jobs,” de León said. “Solar creates benefits for every resident of Los Angeles.”

Rene Rodriguez presented on behalf of L.A.-based affordable housing architect and developer Abode Communities, which has installed photovoltaic systems atop nine of its housing developments.  “While solar power reduces operating costs and improves efficiencies for our housing portfolio, it’s even more important in reducing utility expenses for those low-income residents who need it most,” he said.

Participants at the meeting wrote letters to the editor urging 20% local solar power in L.A. by 2020 and used sun-sensitive paper to create prints with pro-solar messages and imagery.

Environment California is calling on the L.A. city government to commit to 20 percent solar power by 2020. Achieving this goal would reduce carbon pollution by an estimated 1.1 million tons annually, cut smog-forming pollution by roughly 730,000 pounds annually, and create approximately 32,000 new jobs. Right now, the city gets less than 2% of its power from the sun.

Mayor Garcetti endorsed the 20 percent target while campaigning last spring. Now, Environment California is calling on him and members of the City Council to make 20 percent solar by 2020 into an official city goal.

 “Sunday’s meeting was yet another sign that momentum is building behind the 20% local solar by 2020 goal for Los Angeles,” said Jasmin Vargas of the Sierra Club. “Angelenos want to see their city become a world solar leader.”