The Los Angeles City Council has approved a feed-in tariff that could see residents and businesses contributing up to 150 megawatts (MW) of solar energy to the city.
Under the terms of the program, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) will buy solar power generated locally by rooftop solar panels.
The Solar Feed-in Tariff (FIT) [PDF] will offer an initial 10 MW of solar in its pilot phase, and later LADWP will roll out a program with a minimum of 75 MW and rising to 150 MW.
LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who has signed an ordinance initiating the program, which would allow Angelenos to take advantage of one their most underutilized resources.
“It’s time we start using one of Los Angeles’ most abundant resources – sunshine,” said Mayor Villaraigosa in a statement. “This ordinance will allow Los Angeles to become the largest city in the nation to implement a feed-in tariff system. We are starting small, testing the market, and making sure we have the best, most cost-effective system for the future.”
FITs are programs devised to accelerate investment in renewable energy technologies. They achieve this by offering long-term contracts to renewable energy producers, typically based on the cost of generation of each technology. Such programs have driven a high proportion of renewable energy deployed around the world and many of the solar photovoltaics installed across the globe were paid for with FIT programs.
A recent program approved by city authorities in Palo Alto last month will see locals contributing over 6,000 MW of renewables each year, enough to power 1,000 homes, under a FIT done through the CLEAN program.
For the LA pilot program, projects will be selected based on competitive bids, determining a set contract price per kilowatt-hour for up to 20 years.
The mayor’s adoption of the FIT has won support from business and environmental advocacy groups.