Los Angeles, California has launched the largest rooftop solar Feed-in Tariff (FiT) program in the nation, under which the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) will purchase solar power from hundreds of building owners with rooftop solar installations.
The LADWP FIT aims to generate 150 MW of renewable and clean solar energy ‚Äì enough to power more than 43,000 homes and reduce Co2 emissions by 147 metric tons. This is the equivalent of taking 28,300 cars off the road.
This FIT program was initially proposed by the CLEAN LA Solar Coalition and the Los Angeles Business Council.
LADWP ran a 10 MW project FIT program last year as a pilot to determine market pricing and how the program needs to be structured.
LADWP got 26 applications, of which 14 were deemed to be eligible projects that the LADWP could sign a power purchase contract for.
The first FIT project completed under this demonstration program was the rooftop solar installation of Oxnard Plaza Apartments in North Hollywood.
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa flipped a switch, and the building started sending to the LADWP what will amount to 142,000 kilowatt-hours of solar energy per year.
LADWP is now accepting applications for a second round of 20 MW allocation under the program starting July 8, 2013. A lottery process will select from among eligible project applications submitted in between July 8-12, 2013.
The first 20 MW round was put out earlier this year in February, and received 104 applications from within the City of Los Angeles. Of these, 60 have been selected and LADWP will sign contracts with them this summer.
LADWP General Manager Ronald O. Nichols said this was just the beginning of what they expect to be a long and beneficial public-private partnership. He said Angelenos can expect to see thousands of solar panels on rooftops throughout the city over the next few years.
Los Angeles has already started realizing the economic development benefits of this program. Solar Provider Group, which was responsible for the Oxnard Plaza installation, decided to set up their U.S. headquarters in Los Angeles. As the program develops, the company plans to create jobs for everything from solar installations to project management, finance and business development.
A University of California, Los Angeles study commissioned by the LA Business Council Institute estimated that the Clean LA Solar program would create 4,500 installation, construction, administration, design engineering and maintenance jobs in the first five years.
The UCLA study also said the program would be able to leverage $300 million in federal tax credits for businesses in Los Angeles and generate more than $500 million in private investments.