DWP closes applications for solar buyback program
Step closer to launching a pilot program
LOS ANGELES, Calif.—The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is a step closer to launching a pilot program that will allow customers to sell their excess solar energy to the utility for delivery to the rest of the city, a spokesman said today.
The LADWP announced that after receiving 26 submissions, the application period to be a part of the feed-in tariff, or FiT, program was closed.
The FiT demonstration program is aimed at increasing the department's renewable energy portfolio. State law requires the utility to generate 33 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020.
The department expects to purchase up to 10 megawatts of solar power from the first round of participants.
LADWP General Manager Ronald Nichols called it "a significant step toward enhancing the amount of solar energy produced in Los Angeles. We are very encouraged by the strong showing of well-priced proposed projects in the first round of bidding."
Staff are reviewing the applications and will winnow the field to a short list of proposed projects in August. The department will then study each of the solar panel setups to assess their ability to feed electricity into the city's power grid.
The utility will evaluate each project based on how much the applicants proposed to charge for the electricity.
The City Council in April gave the department permission to sign contracts lasting up to 20 years to purchase solar power at up to 30 cents per kilowatt hour, well above the 10 cents per kilowatt hour charged by large-scale solar producers. A DWP official told the council in April the department expects to sign contracts at rates will below the 30-cent ceiling.
Department spokesman Joseph Ramallo declined to release estimates about how much DWP will pay for the power, saying that would "compromise contract signing of the well-priced projects."
The applicants include apartment building owners and commercial and industrial property owners throughout the city. A minimum 30 kilowatt hour contribution to the grid eliminated residential solar power producers.
Nichols said the demonstration program would help the department discover pricing information to make expanding the program cost-effective. The LADWP hopes to eventually purchase 150 megawatts, about 3 percent of the utility's electricity supply, of solar power from its customers.
Prior to Laura Chick taking office as Los Angeles city controller in 2001, few in the public really paid close attention to the audits that were the exclusive domain of that department.
The charter establishes the controller as an elected official and gives that individual responsibility for serving as the auditor and chief accounting officer of the city.
LOS ANGELES, Calif.—The City Council took the rare action today of voting to take control of a popular Solar Incentive Program run by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, based on concerns it will benefit businesses more than homeowners.
The council voted 11-1 to assert its authority to overrule the department, which recently made changes to the incentive levels.
LOS ANGELES, Calif.—Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and two council members named their appointments today to a five-member residents committee that will help create a Department of Water and Power watchdog office.
The committee is charged with appointing the first executive director of the Office of Public Accountability, which will analyze DWP programs and rates and advocate on behalf of customers.
LOS ANGELES, Calif.—The city wastes about $1 million per year on nearly 12,000 city-owned cell phones, City Controller Wendy Greuel said today.
Greuel's audit of seven city departments found that the city failed have any central oversight of cell phone contracts, and that no one department is responsible for ensuring city policies are followed.
Twenty percent of all staffers in non-revenue-generating departments have a cell phone, and the annual cost comes to about $4.8 million, according to Greuel.
LOS ANGELES, Calif.—A Los Angeles City Council committee took the first step today toward creation of an Office of Public Accountability to provide oversight of the Department of Water and Power.
Voters on March 8 approved a charter amendment to set aside 0.25 percent of DWP's budget in order to create an independent DWP watchdog office.
The council put the measure on the ballot after a bitter fight with the DWP over rate hikes last year.