Los Angeles Mayor Backs More Solar Power

By Published On: March 28, 2005

Los Angeles mayor James Hahn endorsed a report calling on the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power to generate 1 percent of its electricity with solar power by 2017 at a cost of up to $280 million. Hahn, who faces a May reelection runoff, joined Global Green USA in releasing the report last Friday on the steps of Los Angeles City Hall. ?L.A. should be at the front of the pack? when it comes to solar power, Hahn said. ?We can create clean, local jobs here.? The report calls on LADWP to install 70 to 80 MW of photovoltaics on city-owned or -influenced buildings, such as libraries and schools. It also recommends installing solar panels on new affordable housing complexes so residents would be freed from power bills. The recommendation would go beyond the department?s current solar rebate program, but would be folded into the muni?s self-adopted 20 percent renewables portfolio standard. The RPS details are being drafted by Hahn?s green-ribbon commission. Global Green estimates that the department could produce solar power at a cost as low as 9.85 cents/kWh. Capital costs could be financed in the bond market and partially leveraged by private developers in some cases. Solar costs would fall from today?s range of 21 to 37 cents/kWh, the report said, because of a long-term decline in the price of photovoltaic panels. In addition, the department would be able to avoid many costs, including the need to control pollution from a dirty 50 MW peaker unit at its Valley Generating Station, the risk of rising natural gas prices, and the cost of expected greenhouse gas emissions controls. The department could further cut its costs by selling the renewable energy credits generated by solar installations, once California?s market for the credits is established. The credits, which can be sold separately from the power generated by renewables technologies, are worth 4 to 4.5 cents/kWh in Connecticut, where a market exists. As the commission and department work out the details of the RPS plan, Los Angeles City Council member Bernard Parks is seeking to cap what the department would be able to spend on renewable power at 7 cents/kWh.

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