Los Angeles solar roof program boosted

Los Angeles has cleared the way for a solar roof program that includes a feed-in tariff (FiT) for what will eventually reach 150 MW of generation.

 The Los Angeles City Council on April 3 approved a measure to allow the Department of Water and Power (DWP) to move forward with its CLEAN LA Solar program.

Property owners will be selling solar energy generated on rooftops and parking lots back to the utility. Los Angeles will be the largest city in the nation to adopt such a program. The city says the program will encourage up to $2bn in private investment, create jobs and help LADWP meet its renewable energy goals.

The program comes at a premium. In documents describing the mechanics of the program, officials determined that pricing shall not exceed an average of $300 per MWh.

The Los Angeles Business Council (LABC) has been the leading advocate for the CLEAN LA Solar program since 2009. It claims that enacting the full CLEAN LA Solar program with the 150-MW FiT, will create 4,500 jobs, generate $500 million in economic activity and offset 2.25 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions by 2016.

“It’s time we start using one of Los Angeles’ most abundant resources — sunshine. By using our resources wisely, we have the potential to lead the nation in solar power,” said Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in a statement. “Rooftop solar in Los Angeles can create significant amounts of clean energy and support thousands of good jobs in the process.”

Currently, most of L.A.’s renewable power is generated outside the L.A. basin and transmitted to the city. Officials hope the CLEAN LA program will incentivize clean-energy production within city limits by taking advantage of L.A.’s vast, underused rooftop space.

The Board of Water and Power Commissioners is expected to approve the launch of a 10-MW demonstration project. The first 75 MW of the full program are expected to come on line this year, with an additional 75 MW expected by 2016.