Los Angeles – On Tuesday, the Los Angeles City Council authorized the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) to launch a much anticipated 10 megawatt (MW) solar demonstration program. Called a feed-in tariff (FIT), the program will enable Angelenos to transform underutilized rooftop spaces on multifamily residences, schools, warehouses, parking lots and retail spaces into a valuable energy resource.
“The feed-in tariff pilot program is a critical investment in a clean energy future for Los Angeles,” said Michelle Kinman, clean energy advocate with Environment California. “By taking steps to maximize the city’s tremendous untapped solar potential, Los Angeles leaders are paving the way for the city to become a world class solar leader, bringing considerable environmental and economic benefits.”
Feed-in tariff programs can drive a market for medium-sized solar projects installed on spaces where there is little on-site electricity demand and ample space to install solar panels. Through this program, LADWP will purchase the electricity “fed-into the grid” from participating local solar systems, under long-term contracts with the system owners. Well-designed and cost-effective feed-in tariffs have created some of the world’s strongest markets for solar power and there is every reason to believe that this type of policy will enable Los Angeles to convert its rooftop potential into a competitive solar market.
Environment California is proud to be a member of the CLEAN LA Coalition, a broad coalition of business, environmental and labor groups, led by the Los Angeles Business Council, which has advocated for a robust feed-in tariff program. In addition to securing the 10 MW pilot program, the coalition seeks to ensure that LADWP’s 2012/2013 budget includes 75 MW of solar feed-in tariff programming, and that 150 MW are budgeted by 2016. At these levels, the city will create an estimated 4,500 jobs, generate $500 million in economic activity and offset 2.25 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions by 2016.