L.A. pursues solar-power surge

A plan launched by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa encourages installation of 1,300 mW of solar power in Los Angeles and the surrounding area by 2020.


Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has unveiled an aggressive solar power plan that aims to encourage the installation of 1,300 mW

Christened "Solar LA," the plan addresses solar power systems on residential, commercial, and municipal properties. The plan includes a requirement for the city's municipal utility, the Los Angeles Dept. of Power and Water (LADPW) to install 400 mW of solar power on city-owned property by 2014. By 2020, the utility will be required to procure an additional 500 mW of utility-scale solar power through contracts with third-party developers, with the option to purchase the systems after about eight years of operations.

The plan proposes a number of incentives for solar-minded residential customers; homeowners will be offered expanded rebates, including free systems for some customers in low-income neighborhoods, and the city may offer loans that can be repaid through property taxes. Residential customers that can't afford their own solar power system will be able to buy shares of an LADWP solar power plant through a new program called "SunShares." Combined, these programs could yield another 230 MW of solar power by 2020.

Further, the plan includes the city's intent to institute a feed-in tariff, which would allow solar developers throughout the city to sell power directly to LADWP under a long-term contract. The feed-in tariff is expected to yield another 150 MW of solar power by 2016.

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