Los Angeles’ City Council recently approved plans for the CLEAN LA Solar program, which would create a 150 megawatt feed-in tariff for the city, making it the largest city in the country, so far, to adopt a FiT. Now it’s up to the Department of Water and Power (LADWP) to implement it.
The news was heralded by the Los Angeles Business Council (LABC), which is advocating for the FiT. “The Los Angeles Business Council is delighted by today’s unanimous vote, which is a momentous step toward a more sustainable economy in Los Angeles,” said Mary Leslie, President of LABC. “The CLEAN LA Solar program will supply renewable energy at a reasonable cost while spurring private investment, creating high-quality jobs, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and helping the city and state meet renewable power requirements. The LABC has led a citywide coalition of business organizations, nonprofit environmental groups, and labor organizations in support of this program, and we are all gratified to be moving forward,” she said.
The FiT will cover rooftop PV installations as small as 30 kilowatts up to 999 kilowatts on commercial buildings as part of a 10 megawatt pilot project to help LA understand how interested companies are interested in participating and to help create the larger stages of the program, which could start this year.
“Businesses have played a very important role in our broad, citywide coalition in support of the FiT program. Rooftop space is an underutilized asset—especially in a city with as much sunshine as Los Angeles. The owners of commercial, industrial and multifamily residential property all stand to benefit from selling clean, renewable power back to the Department of Water and Power,” Leslie said.
The program will be launched in three phases, according to LAWP documents. The first pilot phase, a 65 megawatt phase—which may launch as early as this year, and a final 75 megawatt phase that the utility expects will be fully subscribed by 2016.
The FiT will help offset transmission costs, according to Leslie. “Transmitting power from out-of-state coal plants—or even from solar arrays in the Mojave Desert—is a highly inefficient method to deliver electricity.…The fact that the program delivers local peak power is another great advantage for ratepayers,” she said.
The FiT could actually help reduce electric costs for low-income people in multifamily homes, Leslie said. “A well-designed FiT can also provide monetary benefits for residents in low-income communities in the form of rebates or reduced energy costs,” she said.
The program will also create jobs in the city. LABC said the program could create 4,500 jobs and bring $500 million in economic activity to the city, once the program is approved.