The city of Los Angles is taking up the world’s most ambitious solar power project. Till date this project will be the largest solar power plan started by any city in the world. They are planning to install 1.3 Giga Watts (GW) of solar power and register their city’s name in the book of green economy. The plan was announced by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, City Council President Eric Garcetti, Councilmember Jan Perry and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP). This program is known as Solar LA. They aim to replace the fossil fuels during peak energy requirement and the program lays out a far-reaching and long-lasting course of action for a network of residential, commercial and municipally-owned solar systems to replace fossil fuels during peak energy demand.
The Solar LA plan covers three primary components: first one is the programs to boost residential and commercial customer solar systems; second one will be the LADWP-owned solar projects in Los Angeles; and the third one will be the large-scale solar projects owned by the LADWP outside of the LA basin.
They are taking other steps too. For example, LADWP will utilize $313 million in state funds for solar projects. Using this fund, it will expand its rebate programs by encouraging customers to install solar panels for their power needs. LADWP will provide free systems to a limited number of customers belonging to the low-income group. LADWP will also encourage residential customers to opt for low-interest loans for the installation of solar systems till now available to commercial customers. This project will incorporate a new feed-in-tariff (FiT). Using this FiT, Solar developers can sell power to LAWDP by engaging in a long-term contract.
Mayor Villaraigosa is of the view that it’s time to use the most abundant natural source to generate electricity and jobs for the future. He wants people to view LA as the shining example of green growth worldwide. Investment in green power will create new openings in the area of research and development, manufacturing, installation, maintenance and repair. A release from the mayor’s office stated that every 10 MW of solar energy would generate 200 to 400 jobs. Los Angles would be giving the necessary push to “cleantech” economy by generating varied types of jobs.
“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.”
If this plan is completed by 2020 then LA will generate a tenth of Los Angeles’ power through solar energy by 2020. LADWP will put in 400 MW of roof-top solar systems on city-owned properties by 2014. It will also obtain 500 MW of utility-scale solar power from projects developed under agreement by third-party solar developers.
“L.A. has everything it takes to make this [solar plan] work,” said Villaraigosa, standing alongside environmentalists, union leaders and City Council members. “We have the sun in abundance. We have the space. We have the largest municipal utility in the country.”