The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power board of directors will meet Tuesday to discuss how it will continue funding its solar rebate program after the LA City Council last week vetoed the department’s plan to reduce the dollar amount of pay-outs.
“The bottom line is this: We should go solar,” LA City Council member Bill Rosendahl said in the meeting last week. “We’re in sunny Southern California, and the DWP has to figure out how to incentivize us to make it work.”
The City Council voted unanimously to reverse the department’s decision to reduce rebate pay-outs and implement a 90-day moratorium on new applications so the department can catch up on the glut of year-end solar rebate applications, starting in January.
The LADWP board has the issue on its agenda as a discussion item for Tuesday night’s meeting. The board will submit a resolution, according to the department’s public affairs representative, Carol Tucker, but they may or may not vote on it.
The department announced early last month that it would gradually reduce what it pays in solar rebates per watt from $4.53 now to $1.62 in 2016 in order to extend the life of the program.
The California State Legislature granted the department $285 million in 2007 to fund the rebate program. But it proved to be more popular than expected. Between 1999, when a rebate program was first introduced, to 2007, when it was expanded, 800 customers installed 10 megawatts of power.
Between 2007 and November of this year, 1,900 customers had installed 12 megawatts, and another 1,700 have applied to install an additional 35 megawatts of power, according to board workshop documents.
“If we just continue as is, we are going to run out of funding by the middle of 2012,” Arash Saidi, an electrical engineer in the department, said last month.
Several groups, including the Sierra Club, VoteSolar, Pen Neighborhoods and various other organizations appeared at last week’s city council meeting to urge councilors to overturn the department’s decision to reduce rates.
The city council did overturn the decision and asked the department to come up with another plan that doesn’t involve such drastic rebate reductions.
The department’s board meetings are open to the public, but are not broadcast on the web, Tucker said.
Image courtesy of Wikimedia.org.