LOS ANGELES - Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa unveiled an aggressive solar power plan for Los Angeles that aims to encourage the installation of 1,300 megawatts (MW) of solar power throughout the city and surrounding areas of Southern California by 2020. Called “Solar LA,” the plan addresses solar power systems on residential, commercial, and municipal properties. The plan includes a requirement for the city’s municipal utility, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP), to install 400 MW of solar power on city-owned property by 2014. By 2020, the utility will be required to procure an additional 500 MW of utility-scale solar power through contracts with third-party developers, with the option to purchase the systems after about eight years of operations.
Residential customers will be offered expanded rebates, including free systems for some customers in low-income neighborhoods, and the city may offer loans that can be repaid through property taxes. Residential customers that can’t afford their own solar power system will be able to buy shares of an LADWP solar power plant through a new program called “SunShares.” Combined, these programs could yield another 230 MW of solar power by 2020. The city also intends to institute a feed-in tariff, which would allow solar developers throughout the city to sell power directly to LADWP under a long-term contract. The feed-in tariff is expected to yield another 150 MW of solar power by 2016.