Los Angeles—Property owners here may not have long to wait to start making money from what is now empty roof space.
Councilwoman Jan Perry has introduced a motion to implement a 75 Mega Watt Feed in Tariff (FiT) Pilot Program at the City of Los Angeles.
The Solar Feed in Tariff (FiT) program will offer both commercial and residential property owners an opportunity to sell excess energy back to the local utility for a price to be determined. The goal is to implement the program before the 30% Federal Tax Credit for renewable energy investments expires in 2016.
The effort seeks to find effective ways for the City of Los Angeles to meet the goal of 33% renewable energy by 2020.
The motion asks the Department of Water and Power (DWP) to report to the Energy and Environment Committee on an implementation plan for a pilot program that will assist the department in meeting renewable energy goals, generating green jobs and private investment in renewable sources of energy.
The tariff program is a high priority of the LA Business Council, a group that includes many apartment and commercial property owners.
The council said that it’s critical to have an agreement by DWP to pay the generators of rooftop solar a rate sufficient to incentivize property owners to invest. In the case of multi-family apartment buildings, a new study by the Los Angeles Business Council, recommends a rate of 24 to 26 cents per kilowatt-hour of power that is fed back into the utility’s grid. A similar incentive available under the DWP Solar Incentive Program is now oversubscribed and has been temporarily suspended.
Eighty percent of Los Angeles residents support the rooftop solar program being proposed by LABC, despite the fact that they would see a slight increase in their monthly DWP bill, according to an LABC Institute-commissioned survey conducted by Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates.
“Los Angeles residents sent a strong message in the survey that they support a rooftop solar program, and are willing to pay a little more for it,” according to lead researcher Richard Maullin. “Residents want to reduce reliance on polluting coal-fired power plants and bring clean energy jobs to Los Angeles,” he said.
Creating a well-designed multifamily solar rooftop program in low-income neighborhoods not only creates jobs, but it can reduce the costs of operating housing by lowering the costs of common-area electricity. If well-tailored, it can also provide monetary benefits for low-income residents in the form of rebates or reduced energy costs.
“The program will create jobs and enable low-income residents in participating buildings to benefit from rebates or reduced utility costs,” said Kelly Boyer, Director, Multifamily HUB for Los Angeles with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. “And that’s before you talk about clean air benefits. I’d say this is a win-win-win for Los Angeles.”
This is particularly important when considering the City Controller’s new audit, released last week, criticizing LADWP for suspending spending on new renewable energy projects, and putting at risk the city utility’s ability to reach mandated sustainability goals by 2020. Failure to achieve those goals will result in stiff financial penalties.