LA Mayor Rolls Out 1.3GW Solar Plan

By Published On: November 26, 2008

The Mayor of Los Angeles rolled out a comprehensive plan November 24 aimed at installing 1.3GW of solar energy under the purview of the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power by 2020. "It is time we use our most abundant natural resource to create the electricity and the jobs we need," said Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Under the plan, LADWP would first expand its existing residential solar rebate program by complementing it with low interest loans to homeowners. The goal for that program is 130 MW by 2020. The muni would then also offer a new feed-in tariff for solar projects installed by third parties. The tariff would seek to encourage an additional 150 MW of capacity by 2020. The plan includes a component to train workers in the solar field, said Los Angeles City Council member Jan Perry, who is a cosponsor with the mayor. The document estimates that every 10 MW of solar capacity installation creates 200 to 400 jobs. In another innovation, Villaraigosa’s plan would open a "SunShares" program to allow LADWP customers unable to install solar systems on their own premises because of physical or financial limitations to purchase shares of systems installed by LADWP. The mayor envisions 100 MW of new solar capacity under this program. The other two components of the plan involve LADWP installing 500 MW of utility-scale solar plants in the deserts surrounding Los Angeles. Another seeks voter approval of a ballot measure in March calling on the muni to install another 400 MW of rooftop solar systems on city buildings, schools, and airports (Circuit, Nov. 7, 2008). Exclusive of the utility owned solar rooftop program under the ballot measure, the plan estimates the solar installations would cost more than $1.7 billion. The LADWP earlier estimated that the 400 MW of rooftop capacity to be installed under the ballot measure would cost up to $1.5 billion. This could bring the total cost for the mayor’s plan to some $3.2 billion. Critics have questioned the cost of the ballot measure, under which LADWP would install systems instead of private companies.

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