1,280 Megawatt Solar Power Plan Unveiled by Los Angeles Mayor


photo: Daniel Figueroa

Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has unveiled a solar power plan for the city that the LA Times is right to call ‘ambitious’: The plan the calls for the city to get 1,280 MW of power from solar panels by 2020.

The financial analysis of the solar plan, and what (if any) rate increases that LA electric customers will pay, will be done over the next 90 days. Here’s how the plan would work:500 MW Would Come From the Mojave Desert
500 MW of LA’s solar power would come from as yet to be built commercial solar power facilities in the Mojave Desert. 380 MW would come through smaller programs, including ones would help low-income people purchase solar panels. The remaining 400 MW would come from a ballot measure to be voted upon next March, which would allow the city’s Department of Water & Power to install rooftop solar panels on LA resident’s homes.

Two Potential Set Backs
The LA Times reports that some questions remain about the plan though: 1) Financing the project could depend in large part on federal tax credits and the city getting volume discounts for purchasing panels; and 2) There is some contention over the ballot measure as some claim that it is written in such a way that DWP employee unions would be able to lock out competing solar installation companies from doing the work.

Large, But Still Only 10% of Demand
Nonetheless, 1,280 megawatts of solar power is a step in the right direction.

Though perhaps as it would supply only 10% of Los Angeles’ total energy needs another large step needs to be taken...plus a huge crash course in energy demand reduction through energy efficiency programs and personal reassessment of what constitute genuine energy needs, and what are merely luxuries.

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Tags: California | Los Angeles | Renewable Energy | Solar Power | United States