Los Angeles City Councilmember Jose Huizar 'flipped the switch' today on a new rooftop solar installation, propelling businesses on Los Angeles' eastside into the CLEAN LA Solar movement. The new solar array on the Angelus Grand commercial plaza in Boyle Heights will provide 300 kilowatts of clean, renewable energy to customers of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (DWP).
The project is located in what USC and UCLA researchers have identified as a "solar equity hotspot"—a neighborhood with abundant rooftops and a large low-income population in need of job growth and economic investment.
The installation is the latest development to take advantage of the CLEAN LA Solar program—also known as L.A.'s feed-in tariff (FiT)—which allows commercial property owners in L.A. to take advantage of thousands of acres of underutilized rooftop space by generating energy through solar panels and selling it to the DWP at a competitive fixed rate. The result is zero-carbon, renewable energy that also supports jobs and fuels private investment.
Since the program's launch in 2013, 14 other CLEAN LA Solar projects have been commissioned and interconnected to LADWP's grid, totaling 7.1 megawatts (MW) of clean energy. Another 28 projects—totaling 11.25 MW—are currently under construction. Because of these projects, more than 2,000 new jobs have been created and more than 2.7 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions have been displaced from the environment. LADWP's goal is to interconnect a total of 150 megawatts of solar FiT by the end of 2016 to help meet its state-mandated renewable energy requirement.
More than 40% of the program's completed projects are located in solar equity hotspots. In many cases, developers of solar installations in these areas have connected with local workers and forged partnerships with workforce training programs to offer solar training for less advantaged workers. One such example is the Homeboy Industries' Solar Panel Training and Installation program, which takes place at the East Los Angeles Skills Center public vocational school.
"I am excited to see a local business step up and join the CLEAN LA Solar movement in Boyle Heights," said L.A. City Councilmember Jose Huizar, who spoke at a press conference announcing the installation this morning. "I hope it inspires others in Council District 14 and throughout the City of Los Angeles to apply to this valuable, environmentally friendly program, which creates jobs and clean, renewable energy while reducing pollution."
Levy Affiliated Holdings, a national real estate investment firm, acquired the 103,000-square foot property in 2005. The property currently houses a mix of retail tenants, including Food 4 Less and CVS/pharmacy. The rooftop solar project was initiated by Solar Provider Group and sold in late 2014 to Edge3 Solar, who completed the development and now owns the solar facility.
"As a longtime leader of the CLEAN LA Solar Coalition, the LABC has fought for local solar programs that benefit property owners, solar developers and the community," said Mary Leslie, President of the Los Angeles Business Council. "Each new installation brings us one step closer to meeting Mayor Garcetti's clean energy goals and creating a sustainable, thriving Los Angeles. Our clean energy efforts are turning out to be a critically important economic development tool for Los Angeles, and we're just getting started."
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has set a goal of generating 1,500 megawatts (MW) of in-basin solar by 2025. USC and UCLA researchers estimate that such a program would cut greenhouse gas emissions by more than 20 million metric tons and create more than 36,000 new job years over the next decade.
Earlier this year, the Los Angeles Business Council launched a new database website to connect solar and community developers with building owners. The site lists 7,000 properties that are ripe for rooftop solar development, and includes building addresses, names of property owners and overall capacity of rooftop solar systems. The database shows that Council District 14 alone has the potential for 229 MW of rooftop solar on commercial, industrial, municipal and multifamily residential buildings. To learn more, please visit solar.labcinstitute.org.
"We couldn't be happier to be part of this program," said Jacob Levy, of building owner Levy Affiliated Holdings. "We're proud to be part of a solar program that is leading the nation, creating jobs and removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. I encourage other building owners to review the database and see what kind of rooftop solar potential their buildings may have."
Edge3 Solar likewise expressed enthusiasm about the burgeoning market for local solar development. "We recognize the enormous potential in Los Angeles for this robust rooftop solar program and have been expanding our Southern California presence to take advantage of these opportunities," said Edge3 founder Brad Goode. "The combination of plentiful rooftop space and strong programs like the Department's FiT program, along with the support of LABC, make this a very attractive area for us. Edge3 is currently building another megawatt of solar generating capacity under the FIT program, with plans for more development underway."