Just as the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power suspended its solar incentive program because of a shortage of funds, a business coalition appears to have lined up political support for what could become state\u2019s first major solar feed-in tariff program within the city of Los Angeles. It potentially could incentivize hundreds of megawatts of new solar capacity in the muni\u2019s territory, proponents say. \u201cIt will be one of the first examples of a feed-in tariff designed based on best practices from around the world,\u201d said Ted Ko, co-founder of the Clean Coalition, which tracks such solar payments. Under the proposal--which the city council is expected to weigh this summer--the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power would offer a flat kWh payment--the amount to be determined--to anyone who puts a photovoltaic system on their roof. Building owners would receive payments for each kWh of power they produce over 20 years. Twenty-two European nations use feed-in tariffs and China just adopted one. They have been credited with rapidly advancing the use of solar power. To get ready for the coming council debate on the program, LADWP general manager Ron Nichols said the department is considering how much to pay per kWh and how to grow the program slowly so the muni can successfully manage it. Nichols said the department wants to make sure that a feed-in tariff does not adversely affect its ratepayers and that it can lower the tariff as the price of solar energy falls with innovation and economies of scale. The feed-in tariff was discussed April 12 at the Los Angeles Business Council--a group that includes a number of property development and management companies--which drafted the plan. The meeting came after Nichols suspended the muni\u2019s solar rebate program April 8 because incentive applications have exceeded available funds, even as the payment levels dwindle. Based on available funds and incentive levels, Nichols said it would take about three to five years to provide rebates to every property owner that\u2019s applied for the solar incentive payments. Solar power is very popular in Los Angeles, according to an opinion poll by Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates discussed at the meeting. The poll shows broad public support for a solar feed-in tariff in Los Angeles. Eighty percent of voters back a feed-in tariff as long as it won\u2019t raise electric rates by more than 34 cents\/month on the average bill, according to Richard Maullin, president of the company. Should the tariff cause a $1\/month increase, support declines to 60 percent, according to Maullin, who Gov. Jerry Brown appointed to sit on the California Integrated System Operator board last week (Current, April 8, 2011). The business plan under discussion envisions up to another 450 MW by 2020, according to Maullin. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa endorsed the proposal, saying it would be more cost-effective than the current solar rebate program offered to individual home and business owners. \u201cThis plan brings economies of scale and addresses social equity,\u201d the mayor said. He explained that the current rebate program largely has denied the benefits of solar energy to the city\u2019s low-income residents. City council member Jan Perry also endorsed the concept of a feed-in tariff, although limited in scope at first. She said she planned to introduce a pilot program that would authorize a feed-in tariff for up to 75 MW of new solar capacity.