In an effort to expand access to solar savings to all Angelenos, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) is launching the Solar Rooftops Program (SRP). According to the municipal utility, the new program is designed for customers who may not have been able to benefit from solar in the past because of the high cost of installing panels.
The SRP is a pilot program open to qualifying residential homeowners on a limited basis in LADWP’s service territory, with areas of low solar penetration receiving priority enrollment. Part of LADWP’s overall Community Solar Program, the SRP is another step toward providing clean, efficient and sustainable sources of energy to customers, including those in underserved communities.
“With the Solar Rooftops Program, LADWP continues its commitment to sustainable energy and providing quality service to its customers,” says David Wright, general manager of LADWP. “We are pleased to be able to offer participation in our solar programs to customers regardless of income level so they can save money on their electric bills while also being environmentally responsible.”
Under the SRP, LADWP will own and build photovoltaic systems between 2 kW and 4 kW on customers’ rooftops, as long as the rooftops meet eligibility criteria. The customers’ rooftop space will be leased for use by LADWP, and the solar systems will then be connected to the utility’s electric grid.
“The Solar Rooftops Program is another step in LADWP’s efforts to meet the goals of reaching 400 MW of solar power by 2017 outlined by Mayor Garcetti in the Sustainable City pLAn, and doing so in a way that involves more Angelenos across the entire city,” says LADWP Commission Vice President William Funderburk. “By increasing the amount of rooftop solar, we also get closer to LADWP achieving the state-mandated goal of 33 percent renewable energy by 2020.”
The pilot aims to install solar panels on approximately 400 Los Angeles rooftops over a three-year period and will create local jobs through LADWP’s Utility Pre-Craft Trainee Program, which gives trainees valuable experience in solar installation. There are no up-front costs to customers, no credit checks are required, and LADWP would be responsible for operation and maintenance of the solar panels.
“It’s great to see the LA Department of Water and Power investing in solar programs that will reach communities overlooked by solar companies, and doing it in a way that creates career path job opportunities for those same communities through the Utility Pre-Craft Trainee program,” comments Jessica Goodheart, director or Repower LA. “We look forward to seeing the department expand its offerings to serve renters, as well.”
Customers participating in the SRP will receive a fixed monthly lease credit of $30 per month, or $360 per year, which pays for the use of a customer’s property. This credit will be fixed for 20 years, bringing the total cost of the pilot effort to $12.9 million including construction, 20-year lease payments, administrative, operation and maintenance costs. To qualify, homes have to be owner occupied, meet all LADWP and Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety criteria, and have suitable rooftops. LADWP is expected to begin accepting applications for the Solar Rooftops Program by early 2017.
A companion program called Shared Solar, designed to provide access to clean solar energy for Angelenos who reside in apartment buildings rather than single-family residences, is expected to be available in 2018. Shared Solar is another effort to expand solar power to more customers in LADWP’s service area by making it available to renters without rooftop availability on a one-year pilot basis.
LADWP consider itself an industry leader in solar power. Under its Solar Incentive Program, 177 MW of solar power have been installed and $293 million in incentives have been paid to date. Under its Feed-in Tariff program, 15 MW of solar power are in service, and another 70 MW are under development or construction.