The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is set to launch a solar feed-in tariff program for its customers for the first time ever. Under the program, households, businesses, and warehouses will be able to send electricity generated from solar power projects into the grid and earn up to $0.17 per kilowatt-hour (kWh). The program will also be open to third-party solar power generators.
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa expressed his happiness on the launch of this program, which can be seen as yet another milestone in the state of California’s target to procure 33% of its energy from renewable energy sources by 2020.
“Today we took another major step forward in transitioning to a clean energy future for Los Angeles. I’m proud of the LADWP Board of Water and Power Commissioners for moving Los Angeles forward to become the largest city in the nation to offer a feed-in tariff solar program. The FiT program takes advantage of our abundant sunshine to spur new private sector investment that will create jobs and decrease our city’s reliance on dirty fossil fuels.”
The feed-in tariff program will also play a critical role in the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources, which the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is about to undertake, believes General Manager Ronald O. Nichols.
“Expanding local solar power is an important part of the evolution of LADWP’s power supply from one heavily reliant on coal, to one with more energy efficiency and renewable energy balanced with natural gas. LADWP is replacing over 70% of its existing energy supply over the next 15 years. Local solar not only increases the level of renewable energy we provide to customers but also helps maintain power reliability as we transition away from coal power.”
The Board of Water and Power Commissioners has so far approved 100 MW of capacity under the program; a decision on increasing the capacity by 50 MW will be taken in March 2013. 20 MW of capacity will be allocated to the generators every quarter between 2013 and 2016. The first 20 MW of capacity will be tied in a 20-year contract with the utility, which will pay $0.17 per unit of electricity supplied to the grid.
Los Angeles Tries Catch-Up With Other Californian Cities
While the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power may have entered the feed-in tariff game slightly late, the program can surely be expected to gain significant traction and attract several small-scale solar power generators. Recently, the California Solar Initiative crossed the milestone of 1,000 MW of installed solar power capacity under feed-in tariff regime. Cities like San Jose, San Diego, Bakersfield, and Fresno have been the leaders in this initiative, while Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), Southern California Edison (SCE), and San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) have been the leading utilities implementing this initiative.
The views presented in the above article are author’s personal views only
Mridul Chadha currently works as Head-News & Data at Climate Connect Limited, a market research and analytics firm in the renewable energy and carbon markets domain. He earned his Master’s in Technology degree from The Energy & Resources Institute in Renewable Energy Engineering and Management. He also has a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering. Mridul has a keen interest in renewable energy sector in India and emerging carbon markets like China and Australia.