Solar In Southern California Getting A Boost
Solar in Southern California just received another boost. After shutting down its solar incentive program in April, Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, the nation's largest municipal utility, has announced that it will restart its solar incentive program once again.
LADWP initially shutdown its solar program in April is it was overwhelmed with applications with not enough money to go around. The LADWP program initially began with around $30 million to provide rebates to homeowners and businesses to install solar on their rooftops. However, the program was inundated with approximately $112 million in requests prompting the city to shut the program down.
With approximately $60 million in funding over the next two years, the program will restart in August or September of this year but with a revised allocation system. Prior, the LADWP provided rebates that were much higher than those provided under the California Solar Initiative (CSI), the state’s primary solar rebate mechanism. Under the new LADWP program, rebates will be more closely aligned with the CSI and they will decrease over time providing for a more stable and sustainable program.
In addition, Los Angeles city officials are proposing to structure the rebate as a feed-in tariff (FIT). FIT’s have been implemented successfully in Europe as well as parts of Canada as means to promote renewable energy adoption. A FIT is essentially where your utility company has to pay you cash for the amount of energy your renewable energy system produces above the amount you consume.
For LADWP, promoting renewable energy is critical not only because of the state’s renewable portfolio standard but also because more than 40% of the DWP's electricity is imported from coal-fired power plants outside the state, a major source of pollution and cost. In addition, according to the the Los Angeles Business Council, DWP's Proposed Feed In Tariff if approved, would generate over 11,000 new jobs, millions of dollars in tax revenues from clean tech companies and 600 megawatts of renewable energy within a decade.