UCLA Luskin Center Director J.R. DeShazo and Professor Manuel Pastor of the USC Program for Environmental and Regional Equity joined Los Angeles City's political and business leaders at City Hall on March 27th to present about the state of solar power in the city. The Los Angeles Business Council hosted this Solar Roundtable at City Hall, which featured the preliminary results of a soon-to-be-released report on the current state of solar in Los Angeles, including a progress report of the country’s largest feed-in tariff, as well as a look ahead to how the city can help reach the State’s new ambitious alternative energy goals. The report outlines how the country’s largest municipal utility – the Los Angeles Department of Water of Power – can become a national leader for in-basin solar and install 1500 MWs by 2025 through a combination of an expanded feed-in tariff, the continuation of net metering and the addition of municipal projects such as a community solar program (proposed for the end of 2015). Achieving these capacity goals could create nearly 36,000 new job years and power over 335,000 Los Angeles homes with clean, locally-generated energy. In reviewing the LADWP feed-in tariff and net metering program, one of the biggest impediments to achieving this goal appears to be staff resources and associated project review times.
You can find the Solar Roundtable presentation here.
They said it:
“Los Angeles has the right amount of sun, available rooftops, trained workers and financing options. Adequate staffing at LADWP is the missing piece of the puzzle, and it needs to be put in place if Los Angeles is going to reach its solar potential.”
“The biggest obstacles right now are staffing — their program staff has not been adequate to meet the applications and to process those applications.”
“We need about four megawatts a month until the end of the program, and we’ve not been generating even 10 percent of that so far."
“The solar developers — which have promised to build projects if their applications are accepted — their economics will change dramatically as well (after the ITC is reduced to 10% at the end of 2016), and that will probably cause most of the projects to fall out of the program."
“Los Angeles has a unique confluence of characteristics providing a firm foundation for a successful solar FiT program: abundant sunshine, a trained workforce and tremendous economic need. There's no question that thre FiT can advance solar-related equity goals where they're needed most."
Councilmember Bob Blumenfield
"As an Assembly member, I advocated for PACE financing as an innovative vehicle for financing energy and water efficiency upgrades. As a Councilmember, I am working to provide Angelenos with access to PACE financing. Residential, commercial and industrial buildings are eligible for this innovative, low-cost financing which can be coordinated with LADWP incentives."
Councilmember Curren Price
“I am proud to have one of the City's first FiT installations in my district, and have seen firsthand the economic benefits this technology can bring. We need to make sure that we are doing all we can, working with our LADWP partners, to streamline and expedite the process for FiT installations, so that the largest number of businesses in Los Angeles can take advantage of this innovative technology which is good for business and the environment."
Bernadette Del Chiarro, Executive Director of CALSEIA
“The industry has been frustrated by the bureaucratic hurdles put in place by the DWP in terms of going solar, whether that’s a homeowner or a business wanting to invest in solar. There’s far too many roadblocks put in the way, especially in comparison with the rest of the state.”
“The DWP is getting better, but they’re still far short of where they should be in terms of making it easy for their customers to go solar."
Molly Fowler, Spokeswoman for Mayor Eric Garcetti
“Mayor Garcetti is committed to reaching his solar goals and is working with the DWP to address staffing and other issues.”
Jason Rondou, LADWP Solar Programs Manager
“We believe that we’ve taken the appropriate measures to get this program on track and to have this program delivered by the date that we anticipated that it would be — the end of 2016."
“The intent of this is to learn and grow. Right now we’re learning how to optimize the feed-in tariff program. We’re going to expand it."