Update: Los Angeles to Reboot Solar Incentive Program
Earlier this year, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) cancelled its solar incentive program, citing an inability to manage the high overwhelming interest and inadequate funds. However, in a recent development last week LADWP announced that it received approval from the Board of Power and Water Commissioners to restart the program with some changes. LADWP expects to accept new applications as early as September 1.
While LADWP quickly claims that they are taking feedback into account, it seems most, if not all, of the adjustments to the program are weighted heavily against the interests of the consumer. In fact, SolarIndustrymag.com reports that under the new system, even though there is now more money in the pot, incentives have been reduced by 30% for those who buy systems and 40% for those who lease their system to deal with the high demand.
A lower incentive means a higher up-front investment, will increase the time it takes for the system to pay for itself and may lower local demand. Furthermore, LADWP has retained the double inspection system - one for structural safety and a second by a specific solar inspector- that can delay use by up to three weeks after installation. Any systems showing early, if homeowners use their solar energy systems without authorization, they risk having their incentive applications rejected. On the bright side, LADWP will be using an online application program called PowerClerk to streamline the administrative processing and increase transparency.
For some solar installers, it may be too late for LADWP to save face as they already pulled out of the Los Angeles market when the program was shut down in April but hopefully businesses and homeowners will continue to take advantage of the program and southern California can fulfill its solar potential.