DWP to let customers sell back excess solar energy

January 13, 2013 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power will allow customers to sell back excess solar energy created on their own equipment.

The program approved Friday by the city utility’s board of commissioners would pay customers 17 cents per kilowatt hour for solar energy produced on rooftops and parking lots, according to the Los Angeles Times (http://lat.ms/ZEKVRv ).

The DWP has begun accepting applicants for its so-called feed-in-tariff program, described as the largest urban rooftop solar program of its kind in the nation. The contracts will total up to 100 megawatts of solar power through 2016.

Environmentalists, business advocates and solar vendors cheered the decision.

“Today’s vote is a major step forward for the economic and environmental sustainability of Los Angeles,” said Mary Leslie, President of the Los Angeles Business Council, a group advocating the Clean LA Solar program since 2009.

Fred Pickel, the city’s ratepayer advocate, told commissioners that 17 cents per kilowatt hour was above market rates and could force significant rate increases on DWP customers. Higher DWP bills could drive jobs away, Pickel told the board.

But the board unanimously decided to institute the feed-in-tariff program, and to reassess it at regular intervals, the Times said.

In March, the commission will decide whether to add an additional 50 megawatts of energy to the buyback program.

Advocates told the newspaper the full 150-megawatt program would create enough solar energy to power 34,000 Los Angeles homes.

Once qualified, DWP customers with large multi-family dwellings, warehouses, school facilities and parking lots can sell solar energy at 17 cents per kilowatt hour. The DWP is offering a tiered-pricing schedule that drops to 13 cents per kilowatt hour as energy contracts are reserved, DWP officials said.

Single-family homes generally don’t produce enough energy to qualify.

Some of the contracts will be set aside for smaller solar producers to give them a better chance at winning slots, officials told the Times.

The utility will hire an administrator and about 30 other people to operate the program, but most of those costs will be reimbursed by program participants, the newspaper said.


Information from: Los Angeles Times, http://www.latimes.com

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