UCLA Research on Solar Energy Prompts Coalition To Campaign for Rooftop Solar

UCLA Research on Solar Energy Prompts Coalition To Campaign for Rooftop Solar

Posted on

Thu, 07/08/2010 - 6:37pm

Today a coalition of business, environmental and non-profit organizations led by the Los Angeles Business Council (LABC) launched a campaign to create a 600-megawatt Solar Feed-in Tariff (FiT) program, based on research conducted by the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation in the School of Public Affairs. The FiT would facilitate private investment to meet Los Angeles’ renewable energy goals by enabling residents and business to install solar panels

on their property and sell the power generated back to the electrical grid.

Several key elected officials—including L.A. City Council president Eric Garcetti, Council president pro tempore Jan Perry and Council member Paul Koretz—have already endorsed the proposal.

 

The coalition outlined specific guidelines for City policymakers about how to design a FiT that would create more than 11,000 local green jobs and generate enough clean energy to meet three percent of Los Angeles’ needs, while being cost-effective for ratepayers. This proposal was developed based on a comprehensive report, “Bringing Solar Energy to Los Angeles: An Assessment of the Feasibility and Impacts on an In-basin Solar Feed-in Tariff Program,” (available for download at http://bit.ly/solarfit2) that was issued today by the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation and the LABC.

Drawing on an in-depth survey of major local energy users, county-wide mapping analysis of potential solar resources and economic modeling, the report concludes that a FiT in Los Angeles would produce energy at lower cost than Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s (LADWP) other potential sources over a ten-year period, while at the same time providing program participants with a 5 to 7 percent return on their investment.

“Los Angeles is uniquely positioned to create one of the world’s most cost-effective and ambitious Feed-in Tariff programs because of our abundant year-round sunshine, the large prevalence of rooftop space and the ability of local business to use tax credirs to cover approximately 40 percent of the cost of installing solar panels,” said Professor J.R. deShazo, the primary author of the study and the director of the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation.

Highlighting the many benefits of an ambitious FiT, coalition members—including representatives from the LA Chamber of Commerce to the Union Roofing Contractors Association to the Sierra Club—called on the LADWP to put a 600 megawatt program in place this year. At an annual net cost of $25 million to $35 million, the FiT could be paid for within LADWP’s $4 billion fiscal-year budget—to be voted on later this year—which typically includes an allocation of hundreds of millions of dollars for renewable programs. Drawing on the findings of the UCLA/LABC study, which show that the LADWP could spur widespread participation in a Los Angeles FiT at a relatively low tariff rate, the coalition’s proposed FiT would be able to operate at significantly lower cost than most other programs that have been developed globally.

The study’s detailed analysis also shows that the cost of installing solar panels will fall as the price of other energy sources, like coal and natural gas, rises. As a result of this shift, solar energy generated by a FiT would become more cost-effective than LADWP’s other sources of energy within ten years.

In addition to being a cost-effective renewable energy program, the FiT proposed by the coalition—which would be the largest in the United State—would signal a long-term political commitment to greening Los Angeles that could be used as an incentive to attract clean-tech firms to the region. Germany has used a nationwide FiT program to create the world’s largest solar market despite the country’s marginal sunlight. That program has helped to create more than 100,000 jobs since 2004.

“We must act now to build a robust green economy in Los Angeles by making smart, cost-effective investments in renewable energy at our utility,” said Mary Leslie, President of the LABC, “Our study’s modeling shows how a FiT would leverage private capital to generate jobs and clean energy here in the Los Angeles Basin without placing additional burdens on ratepayers.”

Download additional background information at http://bit.ly/solarla 

View the list of coalition members in support of a FiT program in Los Angeles by visiting http://www.solarfit4la.org'

Download a copy of the first study, "Designing an Effective Feed-in Tariff for Greater Los Angeles" at http://bit.ly/solarfit1

 

Today a coalition of business, environmental and non-profit organizations led by the Los Angeles Business Council (LABC) launched a campaign to create a 600-megawatt Solar Feed-in Tariff (FiT) program, based on research conducted by the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation in the School of Public Affairs.