Angelenos To LADWP: More Solar Now!

Florida may be the Sunshine State, but there’s certainly plenty of warm sunlight out in California as well. Although Los Angeles accounts for 10 percent of the state’s electricity demand, it currently only produces less than 1 percent of its power from solar generation. A recent polled showed that a strong majority of Los Angelenos want to see the city put its abundant sunlight to better use.

The survey of 400 Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) customers found that 87 percent wanted the utility to use more electricity generated by solar panels, and 79 percent wanted more electricity generated by wind turbines.

LA solar power poll

image via Shutterstock

The poll, conducted by public research firm FM3 on behalf of the Vote Solar Initiative [PDF], also found that 76 percent of respondents feel that the LADWP should be doing more to expand the use of Los Angeles rooftops to produce solar energy, and a whopping four out of five (81 percent) support the LADWP increasing its local solar goal to 1,200 megawatts, 10 percent of Governor Brown’s goal for local clean power. Support for this goal remains strong across the political spectrum, with majorities of Democratic, Republican and Independent voters all expressing support.

Last November, recent a study by a research team from UCLA and the University of Southern California found that LA lagged behind other California cities in solar jobs and the amount of solar power capacity per capita. According to the study, the LADWP was generating less than one-sixth as much solar power per customer as state leader Southern California Edison, and had one of the weakest solar track records among major California utilities.

Still, some might be surprised that LA, a city notoriously obsessed with appearances, would show such vigorous support for the implementation of solar panels on rooftops across the city. But solar advocates say that regardless of economic status or political persuasion, Los Angelenos realize renewable energy is a smart decision.

“Local solar power puts our energy dollars to work building a healthier and more prosperous L.A. An expanded solar program would put more boots on roofs and create more jobs in areas that need them most,” said Bill Gallegos, executive director of communities for a Better Environment (CBE), a leading environmental justice organization, in a statement. “Poor communities often get the worst of the fossil fuel energy system. It is only fair that they enjoy the environmental, health, and economic benefits of the clean energy system.”

Beth Buczynski is a freelancer writer and editor currently living in the Rocky Mountain West. Her articles appear on Care2, Ecosalon and Inhabitat, just to name a few. So far, Beth has lived in or near three major U.S. mountain ranges, and is passionate about protecting the important ecosystems they represent. Follow Beth on Twitter as @ecosphericblog

    • http://yrihf.com John Bailo

      Germany is heading towards a 100% renewable, 0% nuclear future using solar combined with hydrogen for storage and use during night time via fuel cells.

    • http://twitter.com/greenrivergroup Gary Tucker

      LADWP already had a great example of a style that could be used citywide in a unique “LA style” solar array.  That style is found in the solar arrays at their downtown headquarters building.  
      http://la.curbed.com/uploads/2007-06-dwpbldg-green.jpg   Imagine such arrays positioned above the many schools in LA, only at a much higher height.  Perhaps 50 to 100 feet above the ground  The arrays could be in pods of varying height and the effect would be much like a group of tall palm trees shading an area.  This style or a more unitary style of say “gas station canopy” size “umbrellas” above schools, parking lots, industrial warehouses and factories etc   The “gas station canopy” style would also incorporate the extended height concept but at a much lower scale of perhaps 3 to 5 times the normal height of standard “gas station canopies”.  
      It would be the “extended or high canopy” style that would make it both very open air and yet provide not only solar power but beauty and shade to large parts of the city.  In each style it would be the accentuation of the tall slender “palm tree trunk” in the support columns that would give the style it’s unique LA flavor.  
      Just a thought.