Environment California Research & Policy Center
From Hollywood studios to car washes, from Hindu temples to Christian churches, from low-income apartment buildings to single- family homes, thousands of Angelenos are already powering their homes, businesses, schools and places of worship with clean energy from the sun. This report highlights 23 solar projects from all across the city of Los Angeles, showing the breadth and diversity of the city’s growing solar market.
All over L.A., people are going solar because:
• Solar power helps the planet. A typical 5-kW solar photovoltaic system prevents the emission of 3.67 metric tons of global warming pollution and 2.44 pounds of smog-forming pollution each year. 1 The congregations at St. Andrew’s Lutheran and the Metropolitan Community Church, for instance, love solar because it matches their ethic of sustainability and conservation.
• Solar energy saves money. At the Baldwin Hills headquarters of California Baby, which manufac- tures baby products, the installation of solar panels sent electricity bills plummeting from thousands of dollars a month to hundreds.
Solar power is already cleaning the air, reducing global warming emissions, and creating local jobs for Angelenos. But L.A. could still do much more. Right now, the city of Los Angeles gets less than 2 percent of its power from the sun. Installing 1,200 megawatts (MW) of solar capacity in L.A. would allow the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power to meet 20 percent of peak summertime demand with solar power. That would be enough to eliminate 730,000 pounds of smog-forming pollution and 1.1 million tons of global warming pollution each year—and create an estimated 32,000 local jobs.
The sky is the limit on what Los Angeles could accomplish with solar power. But the city will never reach its full potential without strong leadership from elected officials. Mayor Garcetti and the City Council can take these concrete steps now to make Los Angeles into a world-class solar city:
• Mayor Garcetti and the City Council should make 1,200 MW of local solar power by 2020 into an official city goal. Solar power is already cleaning the air, reducing global warming emissions, and creating local jobs for Angelenos.
• City leaders should also direct the department to maintain the integrity of the 150 MW feed-in tariff program and expand it to 600 MW by 2020. The feed-in tariff, which pays solar customers directly for the energy that they produce, represents a historic new effort to incentivize solar on warehouses, parking lots and other commercial properties. LADWP should meet and exceed the 280 MW solar goal originally laid out for the utility in the 2006 Million Solar Roofs Initiative (SB1). The utility can do this by offering expanded rebates to homeowners, businesses and schools, by increas- ing access to net metering, and by diversifying the city’s solar energy base to include non-profit groups, multi-family housing units, and community-shared solar programs.
• The department should standardize and accelerate permitting, billing and interconnection procedures and should increase transparency and communication.
• Finally, the city government should continue to support and strengthen green job training programs.