City of Los Angeles Leads By Solar Example

The first week of November, 2008, has been one which will long be remembered.  First the historical win by Barak Obama, and then, at the end of that same week, the city of Los Angeles City Council announced its decision to install solar energy systems on rooftops  all over the city.

Although the city council does not need to put the solar program to a vote, they  will be doing so, putting forth the Green Energy & Green Jobs For Los Angeles proposal on the ballot for a March, 2009 vote.  This February, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa had already announced the Solar Jobs Initiative, which would fund increasing solar capacity on city-owned and commercial rooftops, creating 350-400 jobs, at a cost of about 270 million dollars.

If the Green Energy & Green Jobs for Los Angeles proposal passes, the resulting solar systems would produce some 400 megawatts from the sun’s rays, which is the consumption of about 108,000 customers.

Why are they putting it to a vote if they don’t need to do so?  They want to ensure that the program continues beyond their terms in office.  A vote by the citizens would mandate the program, ensuring its longevity.  “It’s been expressed that this would represent buy-in from the public in investing in solar,” said the city’s Chief Legislative Analyst, Gerry Miller.  But this proposal is a lot bigger than the one that the city council just approved.  If passed, the project would cost somewhere between 1.5 and 3 billion dollars.  Revenue Bonds, private capital and Federal and State grants would provide the funding to put sunny Southern California in the Green.