LADWP is set to relaunch its Feed-in Tariff (FiT) program in June with modified guidelines, a streamlined process, and a new price structure to complete 150 megawatts (MW) capacity of FiT solar projects in LADWP’s service area.
The FiT program, which enables commercial customers to develop solar power in LADWP’s service area and sell the power to the utility, is expanding privately owned, grid-connected solar in Los Angeles, with the biggest FiT project in the nation expected to come online later this year near the Port of Los Angeles.
The FiT program, which was launched in 2013, had stalled at 65 MW shy of the 150 MW FiT goal set by LADWP to expand local solar within its service area. Through the relaunch, LADWP plans to increase the program’s attractiveness to solar developers and customers without adding to the budget, and to improve the success rate of projects that enter into the FiT pipeline. The re-tooling of the FiT program was based on lessons learned as well as discussions with solar developers, research universities, business groups and other stakeholders.
LADWP General Manager David H. Wright described the FiT re-launch as an interim step to complete the initial 150 MW program. “Finishing this portion of FiT is something we need to do,” Mr. Wright said after a recent presentation to the Board of Water and Power Commissioners. “After that we will have a robust discussion on how to invest future funds in expanding the FiT program further.”
The new FiT guidelines (posted at www.ladwp.com/fit), approved by the Board May 15, explain all the nuts and bolts of the changes. Basically, LADWP will be issuing the remaining 65 MW through two tracks: 35 MW of capacity will be available at a fixed price of 14.5 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh), and 30 MW will be available in competitively priced blocks of 5 MW that developers will bid on. The fixed-price program is similar to the current FiT100 set-price program, which offered 100 MW of energy capacity in five allocations that dropped in price from 17 cents per kWh for the first allocation to the current rate of 13 cents per kWh for the fifth and final allocation.
The second new program will offer blocks of 5 MW in energy capacity, awarded based on a competitive bid with a cap of 14.5 cents per kWh.
The largest FiT projects to date, which actually consist of several smaller projects grouped together, were developed through the FiT 50 program. This program bundled 50 MW of local solar installations with a utility-scale solar project in the Mojave Desert. Being able to build a larger solar project creates an economy of scale that appeals to solar developers who can then buy materials at more competitive prices.
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Westmont Project / San Pedro, CA
Developed under the FiT 50 Program, four of six solar projects are completed on warehouse rooftops along Westmont Avenue in the Harbor area. With anticipated completion this summer, the system will produce 15.6 MW of clean renewable power.
U.S. Postal Service Project
Four separate rooftop solar projects, generating 10.6 MW, were completed and energized by April 2017 on a U.S. Postal Service warehouse and carports in South Los Angeles.
CRAFTED / Port of Los Angeles
The CRAFTED Project, a 1.2 MW solar array, was the first of many FiT projects installed in the Port of Los Angeles area. Completed in 2016, the solar system was built on warehouse roofs of the CRAFTED shop spaces.
Until this year, the Forever 21 Solar Project was the largest in LADWP’s cadre of local solar installations. Built in January 2015, Forever 21 is a unique hybrid combining FiT and the LADWP Solar Incentive Program. The 5.1 MW system is installed on Forever 21’s corporate headquarters in the Los Angeles foothills.
Learn more about the re-launched FiT Program.