L.A. Expanding Solar With Finalized FIT Program, New 8.5 MW Array


Los Angeles has made a number of strides toward what many hope is a bright energy future with a big new PV array and the finalization of its 150 MW feed-in-tariff (FIT) program.

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) has begun receiving electricity from a new 8.5 MW solar array co-located with the utility's Pine Tree Wind Farm. The LADWP expects the array, located in the Tehachapi Mountains and consisting of 35,160 ground-mounted solar modules, to produce an average of 18 GWh per year over 25 years. The project represents the LADWP's second utility-built solar array.

According to the utility, the Mojave Desert-Tehachapi Mountains area has become a renewables hub. Late last year, the LADWP purchased the 250 MW Beacon Solar Project in the region from Nextera Energy Resources LLC and will use its FIT program, recently expanded to 150 MW, to build a 50 MW solar project there and expects to issue a request for proposals (RFP) this month for private developers to build 200 MW of solar on the 2,500-acre property.

Unlike the set-pricing FIT program approved for the first 100 MW of local rooftop solar, the LADWP says the FIT50 will be competitively priced through RFPs that are"bundled," with the planned 200 MW solar project. The RFP sets a price cap for each solar project – $140/MWh for the local FIT solar, and $85/MWh for the Beacon project.

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