Can LA Achieve 20 Percent Solar Energy?

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has set an ambitious goal of having Los Angeles derive 20 percent of its electricity needs from rooftop solar power.

In December, AMECO Solar reported on  Environment California’s campaign to convince government officials that solar energy should be a priority for Los Angeles. We’re proud to announce that just one month later their efforts have been recognized by Mayor Eric Garcetti and solar energy will become more abundant in Los Angeles.

Mayor Garcetti Makes Solar Announcement

A few days ago Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti called on the city to raise its amount of solar-generated power to 20 percent of peak demand by 2020.

His statements indicate that he is firmly committed to the growth of the city’s solar resources, which currently meet about 2 percent of its total electricity needs. Garcetti is hoping that Los Angeles can install 1,200 megawatts (MW) of generating capacity, a little less than one-fifth of the 6,100 MW of peak demand that the city experiences in the summer.

Garcetti’s statements come at an uncertain time for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP). The agency is currently looking for a new general manager after Ron Nichols stated that he will be stepping down for personal reasons. The hope is that the new General Manager of the utility company will prioritize the growth of solar energy so that Mayor Garcetti can meet his ambitious 20 percent goal in six years.

Benefits of Solar Panels for Los Angeles Residents

“Southern California is practically a synonym for sunshine,” Emily Kirkland of Environment California said in a statement. “But here in Los Angeles, we’re still getting less than 2 percent of our power from the sun. Mayor Garcetti showed tremendous vision in calling for 20 percent local solar power by 2020 last January. Now, it’s time for him to make that promise a reality.”

The source reports that adding 1,200 MW of generating capacity will create 32,000 jobs and offset the carbon emissions created by over 1 million cars.

Importance of LADWP Solar Rebate Program

The LADWP currently has an incentive program that provides a lump sum payment to customers who decide to switch to a home solar system for their electricity needs. The program had a declining incentive payout, meaning that as more solar energy systems come online, the incentive goes down and those who receive funds are given a smaller per-watt rebate.

Currently, the LADWP rebate program is in its eighth tier (out of ten), with an incentive of 40 cents. This means that for the typical four-kilowatt system, homeowners will receive a lump sum payment of $1,600.

These rebates don’t include the Federal Renewable Energy Tax Credit, which covers 30 percent of the cost of installation for qualifying systems.

In order to reach Mayor Garcetti’s goal, the LADWP and federal government need to continue these programs and help homeowners realize savings on their solar installations. Doing so will not only benefit their individual’s household finances and the economy, it will also help the region become more sustainable and less reliant on fossil fuels.