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Published December 12, 2008 09:27 AM

Los Angeles Seeks to Add 1.3 Gigawatts of Solar Power by 2020

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa recently announced plans for Los Angeles to supply 10% of its electricity generation from solar power. Dubbed "Solar LA", the ambitious plan would create the largest installed base of solar power of any city in the world.

Mayor Villaraigosa told reporters at the plan's unveiling last month, "Our solar initiative is the largest of any kind anywhere in the world. When it takes full effect, LA will have 1,280 megawatts more capacity -- more than exists in the entire United States today."

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Solar LA calls for a total of 1.3 gigawatts of installed solar power coming from three main components:

  • 380 megawatts from programs and tax incentives to help promote residential and commercial solar systems.
  • 400 megawatts from solar projects owned by the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power.
  • 500 megawatts from large-scale LADWP-owned solar projects outside the LA basin.

LADWP will expand its rebate program for customers installing solar systems from a $313 million state set-aside for solar projects. A limited number of customers will receive solar systems free of charge in low income neighborhoods, and all residential customers will be extended low interest loans for installing solar systems to be repaid through property tax assessments.

Solar LA will also provide a feed-in-tariff allowing local solar developers to sell power directly to LAWDP through long-term contracts.

Solar projects outside the city will be developed by third-party solar developers under special agreements with LADWP.

Not only is the plan aimed at growing LA's clean energy capacity, it hopes to make a significant contribution to the green economy (read just "economy") by creating clean-tech jobs and enticing solar developers into the city. The plan and hope is that Solar LA will make Los Angeles a major player in the solar power industry.

"Solar LA serves as more than a blueprint to a greener LADWP," Mayor Villaraigosa said. "By sparking a broad movement to solar energy across a city of 4 million residents, we are priming the pump for Los Angeles to become a world leader in the solar industry and delivering on the vision of re-making Los Angeles into the cleanest, greenest big city in America."

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