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Solar Panels in Los AngelesFinancing, Policies Companies
Daniel Sullivan has been a key driving force for the growth of the solar industry in Southern California for the last 12 years, and his company is a primary contributor to San Diego’s ranking as one of the top solar markets in the country. Sullivan Solar Power has been ranked one of the fastest-growing firms locally and nationwide by Inc. and San Diego Magazine for six consecutive years.
The combination of high energy bills and lots of sun has made Los Angeles a prime location for solar energy. The market for solar has increased exponentially in recent years, and, according to NC Clean Energy Technology Center, the city has one of the highest returns on investment for these systems. In fact, people with solar can save about $100 per month on their utility costs. This guide explores the use of solar electricity in Los Angeles. Here you’ll find information on companies in the area that install these systems, the financial incentives that are available to fund these projects, and the policies that must be adhered to when installing solar systems.
4 Facts to Know About Solar in Los Angeles
Los Angeles homeowners who install solar panels on their property can expect to get their investments back within six to nine years, according to The Center for Sustainable Energy.
Los Angeles has more than 180 MW of solar installed – that’s enough to power 50,000 homes, according to the LA mayor’s Sustainable City pLAn 2015-1016.
The Port of Los Angeles is building a 1 MW rooftop solar system with a 2.6 MW battery storage system. The project is funded in part by $14.5 million from the California Air Resources Board and is expected to be complete by mid-2017. The Green Omni Terminal will be able to keep operating during grid power outages and will include zero-emission vehicles and cargo handling equipment.
Hanover Company opened the “first solar-powered net-zero eco apartments” in Los Angeles in 2016. Part of a 263-unit complex, Hanover Olympic’s 20 “eco-green” apartments are each powered by 10 dedicated photovoltaic panels. As a result, tenants save about $100 per month.
Los Angeles is famous for its warm, sunny weather and while this is great for those whom appreciate bathing suits and convertibles, it typically means additional air conditioning use. A/C is by far the most significant contributor to high energy consumption with a standard 5-ton central air system adding as much as 50 percent to an annual electric bill. In addition to higher usage, the actual rates are higher as well — the two largest LA-area utilities have rates well above the national average of about 13 cents. An LA resident using 10,000 kWh per year will pay roughly 18 cents with LADWP and 24 cents with SCE. With the cost of fully installed, financed solar at around 15 cents/kWh, there is ample room for savings.
IN-DEPTH: Solar in Los Angeles
According to Environment America Research and Policy Center. not only is Los Angeles a solar star — defined as a location that produced at least 50 watts of solar energy per person in 2015 — the City of Angels actually tops the list. That is not surprising considering that Los Angeles has been a leader in encouraging renewable energy use among its residents and 215 solar systems were installed in the city that year. “The LA solar market is among the most competitive in the country with the highest number of solar installers per square mile of any city,” according to Adondakis. “This is great for consumers who will find plenty of choices and very competitive pricing.”
Residents in Los Angeles on average pay $.21/kWh for electricity, compared to the $.14/kWh average for California and the $.12/kWh average for the country, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Considering that Los Angelinos live with a 71.7 degree average temperature that causes frequent air conditioner use, coupled with the median income being slightly less than the national average — $47,073 compared to $58,522 — solar energy generates a lot of welcome savings to residents’ utility bills.
One of the most important things to understand is how you are being charged for your utility power. For example, So Cal Edison uses a “tiered” bill rate, where they charge customers more per kilowatt-hour for energy over their “baseline.” So sometimes a customer s best strategy is to get enough solar production to get them under their baseline. A customer who covers 25 percent of their usage, for example, may find that reduces their bill by 75 percent.