Los Angeles Kicks Off Solar FIT Program


The Los Angeles Business Council (LABC) says Los Angeles has inaugurated the city's rooftop solar feed-in tariff (FIT) program, enabling building owners to create solar power plants on their rooftops and sell electricity power to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) for distribution on the city's power grid. The program has a target of 150 MW.

On June 26, city officials and other community representatives, including Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, LABC President Mary Leslie and LADWP General Manager Ronald O. Nichols, gathered to officially throw the switch on the first solar panel installation to be interconnected, the Oxnard Plaza apartment building in North Hollywood. The LABC says the PV array will generate 142 MWh of solar energy annually.

‘Today, we took a major step forward in creating a clean energy future for Los Angeles by flipping the switch on the first installation to be completed through the LADWP feed-in tariff program – the largest offered by any city in the nation,’ says Villaraigosa in a statement. ‘The FIT program takes advantage of L.A.'s abundant sunshine to spur new private sector investment that will create jobs and decrease our city's reliance on dirty fossil fuels.’

The LADWP's Nichols says the FIT program is an important step forward in completely transforming the city's power supply and meeting the state-mandated renewable energy level of 33% by 2020.

Prior to the FIT program, most solar projects in Los Angeles were built through a net-metered solar incentive program, where customers who installed solar panels for their homes or businesses received rebates from the LADWP. The LABC says that unlike the customer net-metered program, the FIT program enables participants to sell all their power to the LADWP for distribution on the grid through a standard power purchase contract.

The Oxnard Plaza solar installation is among the first wave of projects developed under the FIT demonstration program that solicited proposals for up to 10 MW of solar power capacity.

Since then, the LADWP has launched a fixed-price program for 100 MW, offered in 20 MW allocations every six months. The first 20 MW was offered in February and resulted in 104 applications for projects within Los Angeles for a total of 49 MW and several more applications for locations in the Owens Valley. Of these, 60 applications have passed technical screening, and agreements are anticipated to be signed this summer.

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