Solar Tribune

USA’s largest feed-in tariff program goes live


Last week, the largest feed-in tariff (FiT) for solar in the country went live in Los Angeles.

What that means is that homeowners with rooftop solar installations are able to sell any extra solar energy they produce back to the grid, operated by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP).

The program is expected to generate 150 MW of solar energy, which is enough to power 43,000 homes and equivalent to taking 28,300 cars off the road (by reducing CO2 emissions by 147 metric tons).

City officials and supporters of the program “flipped the switch” on the first system to be connected to the grid, a rooftop of a North Hollywood apartment block.

Credit: Los Angeles Times

Credit: Los Angeles Times

“Today, we took a major step forward in creating a clean energy future for Los Angeles by flipping the switch on the first installation to be completed through the LADWP Feed-in Tariff Program – the largest offered by any city in the nation,” said Los Angeles’ Mayor Villaraigosa.

“The FiT program takes advantage of LA’s abundant sunshine to spur new private sector investment that will create jobs and decrease our city’s reliance on dirty fossil fuels,” he said.

The program is part of the city’s goal to have 33 percent of energy from renewable sources by 2020. It’s also a plus because most of the solar installations in the city are covered by traditional net metering, where customers receive rebates from LADWP for generating power for their own home.

Under a feed-in tariff, customers can sell all their power to LADWP, to be distributed through the grid – giving more of an incentive to go solar.

LADWP General Manager Ronald O. Nichols also noted that more installations in the city will reduce costs. “A big advantage of local solar installations is that they generate clean, sustainable power right here in Los Angeles, avoiding the cost of building new transmission or taking up capacity on existing lines,” he said. “This also avoids the cost of energy losses that occur when transporting energy from several hundred miles away.”

According to a study by UCLA researchers, the program will create 4,500 jobs in the first five years.

Read more about the program here.

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