250 megawatts (MW) of the 300 MW that were recently approved by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) will come from the Beacon solar project located in Kern County, the LADWP recently announced. The other 50 MW will be solar projects developed in the inner city. The total number of homes that could be powered by these projects is a maximum of 150,000 (with adequate amounts of sunlight of course).
The city council will need to approve the projects for them to be finalized. If the council does approve, the 50 MW of inner city solar projects will qualify for the LADWP feed-in tariff (FiT), which started with a 10 MW demonstration program but has been upgraded to 150 MW.
LADWP has written this about the FiT: “LADWP is implementing the largest FiT program of any municipal utility in the nation. As it goes through growing pains, we continually work to improve the experience of customers and businesses who participate in it. The goal is to achieve the target level of solar energy, catalyze the solar industry and create jobs, and streamline the process to increase efficiency.”
The Beacon Solar Project was approved by the California Energy Commission in 2010. It was proposed as a concentrating solar power plant using parabolic troughs utilizing a little over 2,000 acres of Kern County land. Solar thermal technology will indeed be employed at this new plant. The proposed site is about 70 miles north of Los Angeles.
By 2016, LA could have 25% renewable energy and 33% by 2020, if the city hits its mandates. 1200 MW of solar capacity by 2020 has been published as their goal, which would be about 12.2% of its total renewable energy goal for that milestone.
LADWP already owns the the 120 MW Pine Tree Wind Farm, also located in Kern County. It is the largest wind farm in the US owned by a city.
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