Community Solar

We Won!

Los Angeles needs to move towards cleaner energy, and many residents have opted to go solar. But not everyone is able to participate in greening our city and enjoy the savings that solar offers. As the maps show, Los Angeles contains many “solar deserts”, or neighborhoods that have little rooftop solar.  Meanwhile, wealthier neighborhoods have disproportionately received most of the solar resources.  These solar deserts exist due to the high cost of solar installion, problems with many roofs, and the fact that 62% of the residents of LA are renters and can’t access solar energy.

For example, we found that customers in Boyle Heights received approximately $0.33 per capita in solar incentives over the past 15 years, as compared to Bel Air which received almost $200 per capita. Communities with the highest poverty rates disproportionately received little to no solar incentives. Residents in the wealthiest communities received 31 times the amount of incentives as did residents in the poorest communities in Los Angeles.

Click here to download Repower’s solar desert map by Council Districts here and Poverty Levels here.

We had an opportunity to change this to make sure that all Angelenos can support clean energy while lowering their bills. As part of our vision of expanding sustainability and good job opportunities at the DWP, RePower LA launched a Community Solar campaign. After almost two years of organizing focus groups, events, and public testimony, the DWP Board of Commissioners voted in November 2016 to adopt a pilot program, called “Solar Rooftops”.

DWP is about begin enrollment for the pilot program and will install solar panels on homeowner customers’ properties across the City in order to increase its renewable energy sources. Under the new pilot program, customers will receive fixed payments in exchange for leasing their roofs to install solar available to all customers plugged into the grid. Our goal is to make sure that renters and low-income homeowners alike can be part of the pilot program and any future program expansion to help them save money, reduce pollution, and create good career-path jobs.

The program will benefit our communities by ensuring:

Affordable Bills
Under RePower LA’s vision, those who need relief the most would be able to save money getting payments through Community Solar.

A Pathway to Good Jobs
Community Solar panels would be installed by trainees from an IBEW Local 18-run training program that has successfully placed disadvantaged workers in careers at DWP. The program has created quality jobs and taught trainees real world skills.

Resilient Communities
The Community Solar program would produce 40 Megawatts of power, making it one of the largest community solar initiatives in the nation. This would generate enough energy to power 10,000 homes and reduce the city’s carbon emissions and pollution by 45,000 metric tons (or the equivalent of taking 8,743 cars off the road annually).