A coalition of business, environmental and civic leaders called Tuesday on the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power to expand a pilot program allowing hundreds of building owners to install rooftop solar panels and then sell the electricity generated into the utility’s power grid.
A letter sent on behalf of the Los Angeles Business Council’s 500 members to LADWP Board President Mel Levine says the city “has a unique opportunity to show the nation that we can harness technology, an entrepreneurial spirit and the sun’s energy to meet the demands of the climate crisis while producing the power needed to sustain our way of life.”
The Feed-in Tariff, or FiT, solar pilot program has reached capacity with all 150 megawatts originally authorized either installed or active, along with a waitlist of interested participants, according to the LABC.
“Expanding solar programs [will] benefit the entire L.A. community by creating a pipeline of good paying local jobs, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving the quality of life for residents,” the letter says.
Levine did not immediately respond to a request to comment.
Mayor Eric Garcetti recently announced that the LADWP will be closing three gas-fired power plants along the coast as part of a plan to transition to 100 percent clean energy by 2045.
City leaders have yet to announce how the LADWP plans to replace the nearly 1,700 megawatts of lost electricity without raising energy prices or increasing the risk of power outages, the LABC said.
“This is a moment that calls for big-picture thinking,” said Los Angeles City Councilwoman Nury Martinez, who chairs the Energy, Climate Change and Environmental Justice Committee. “We need to accelerate our transition to clean energy even faster by quickly scaling the FiT program to generate more renewable energy, and consistent with the call for a Green New Deal for Los Angeles, we must seize the opportunity to be first in the nation to commit to targeting the environmental and economic benefits of this groundbreaking approach to our hardest hit front-line and disadvantaged communities.”