LA to develop feed-in tariff system

On April 3, the Los Angeles City Council approved a feed-in tariff as part of the CLEAN LA Solar program. 

A view of downtown Los Angeles from the top of the STAPLES Center rooftop. Credit: Los Angeles Times

Run by the Department of Water and Power (DWP), the CLEAN LA Solar initiative will allow property owners to sell power generated from solar panels back to the DWP. The program will make Los Angeles the largest city in the U.S. to adopt a feed-in tariff.

The measure allows a 150 MW feed-in tariff program without further approval from the City Council and also streamlines the application process. According to the Los Angeles Business Council (LABC), the program will create 4,500 jobs, generate $500 million in economic activity and offset 2.25 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions by 2016.

“Today’s vote helps open the door to a significant new era in renewable power generation in Los Angeles,” said LABC President Mary Leslie. “The CLEAN LA Solar plan will create meaningful economic development and thousands of jobs while moving us closer to our sustainability goals.”

The program began development in 2008, when Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa called for a 150-megawatt feed-in tariff program to be created in the city.

“It’s time we start using one of Los Angeles’ most abundant resources — sunshine. By using our resources wisely, we have the potential to lead the nation in solar power,” he said. “Rooftop solar in Los Angeles can create significant amounts of clean energy and support thousands of good jobs in the process.”

The first 75 MW are expected to be complete this year, while the remaining 75 MW are expected by 2016. The 150 MW program would power the equivalent of 34,000 Los Angeles homes.

“Rooftop space in Los Angeles is truly an untapped resource,” said Councilmember Eric Garcetti. “This forward-thinking solar program will allow owners of commercial and industrial buildings, as well as multifamily residential properties, to benefit directly from our abundant sunshine, while creating jobs that our communities need.”

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