Two new proposals introduced in California aim to increase solar power generation in the city.

Last week the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) announced plans to re-launch its Solar Incentive Program (SIP) with doubled funding for the next three years. In addition, LADWP proposed a new Feed-In Tariff (FIT) program that will allow third parties to sell renewable energy to LAWDP’s citywide electrical grid.

After presenting the proposals to the Board of Water and Power Commissioners, the LADWP revised its previously suspended SIP program to encourage broader customer participation.

“The revised SIP proposal is designed to incentivize as many customers as possible to go solar, while also being prudent about the cost, which is funded by all customers who pay for this program through their rates,” said LADWP General Manager Ronald O. Nichols.

This proposal comes after a 90 day suspension of the SIP during which the LADWP reviewed the program guidelines and caught up with its buildup of rebate applications. The program has become oversubscribed, forcing the utility to catch up with a growing backlog of rebate applications that was outpacing the program’s annual budget three to one, LADWP said.

The new plan for the SIP is to provide financial incentives to LADWP customers who purchase and install their own solar photovoltaic systems.

Past LADWP attempts to increase customer participation included lucrative solar rebates. The revisions made will make the future incentives more consistent with the California Solar Initiative and with other markets.

“Our rebates for residential, commercial, government and non-profit customers will still beat the state incentive levels when you consider that the LADWP will continue offering a higher incentive to customers who elect to sell their Renewable Energy Credit to LADWP,” said Lorraine Paskett, Senior Assistant General Manager of Sustainability Programs and External Affairs.

In the presentation, Senior Assistant and General Manager of Power System Aram Benyamin also reviewed the proposal for SIP, emphasizing the importance of customer experience in regards to the two programs.

“During public workshops, we heard overwhelming support for expanding local solar power, including fully funding the SIP and launching a Feed In Tariff program, to benefit customers, the environment and the green economy in Los Angeles,” said Benyamin. “These two initiatives, if approved, will work together to expand renewable energy within our service area and contribute to our renewable energy goal of 33% by 2020.”

The FIT program would aid in the installation of 75 MW of distributed renewable energy, adding to the 880 MW already installed within the state.

Both programs will go through review and approval by the Board of Water and Power Commissioners before launching. The LAWDP will hold a workshop on July 14 to gain public feedback before review in August and the program’s anticipated restart in September. The LAWDP also plans to have a 5 MW demonstration of its FIT program this fall in order to make final adjustments and gain experience.

“We want Los Angeles to have a successful Feed-In Tariff program that enhances the future for local solar expansion,” said Nichols. “A demonstration program is key to that success.”