LA to Invest $30M in Solar Storage Program Using City-Owned Buildings

Solar energy systems engineer perform analysis solar panels

Photo: Getty Images

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - As Los Angeles sets out to achieve 100% renewable energy by 2035, city officials announced a $30 million investment today in a municipal solar and storage program using city-owned buildings across departments.

“We're celebrating not just another milestone in our fight against climate change, but also a step to build a more sustainable city starting with buildings that the city owns, the city controls and the city can lead by example in making sure that we have renewable energy,'' Mayor Eric Garcetti said at a downtown news conference.

The $30 million was allocated in the 2021-22 fiscal year budget, and the motion to create the municipal solar and storage program is pending in the City Council's Energy, Climate Change, Environmental Justice, and River Committee, chaired by the motion's co-author, Councilman Mitch O'Farrell.

“Today, we take a huge step forward. This unprecedented, coordinated investment between the Department of Water and Power and so many city agencies will transform Los Angeles. It takes leadership to steer the second-largest U.S. city and economy, and this initiative sets the standard for how municipal governments must address the climate crisis,'' O'Farrell said.

The motion, if passed by the City Council, would create a plan on developing a sustainable municipal solar and storage program that would include the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, the Department of General Services, the Bureau of Engineering, the Bureau of Street Services, the Los Angeles Police Department, the Los Angeles Fire Department, the Department of Transportation, the Public Library Department, the Department of Recreation and Parks, the Emergency Management Department and the Los Angeles Zoo.

“Our department maintains over 600 buildings where, in the past five years, we saved 76 million kWh from various energy conservation projects,'' said Tony Royster, general manager of the General Services Department. “With this funding, Los Angeles can continue to lead by example and implement the next phase of clean energy projects to make our buildings more resilient.''

The motion would also order an assessment to identify up to 25 facilities per department that are “strong candidates'' for solar projects for their high degree of solar generation efficiency, high community value, shovel-readiness and opportunities for multiple clean energy interventions. Priority would be given to buildings located in disadvantaged parts of the city.

“The motion we are announcing today puts the city firmly on track to realizing the goal of 100 percent clean energy by 2035," said Councilman Paul Krekorian, who chairs the City Council's Budget and Finance Committee. “This action is further proof that the City Council and mayor have made an unprecedented commitment to a clean future that is a good investment in the fight against climate change, and that over time will save the city millions of dollars by directly producing power on-site.''

On Sept. 1, the Los Angeles City Council moved up the city's deadline to get to 100% renewable energy by a decade, from 2045 to 2035. The transition is expected to create 9,500 jobs and include an investment of between $57 billion and $87 billion, but officials noted that much of the investment would overlap with already needed infrastructure replacement.

“We are leading the nation, and yes, this is hard stuff. Transforming the second largest city in the country will take resolve, coordination, prioritization and monetization of our zero carbon 2035 or sooner commitment. It means intelligently planning and paying for improvements year after year with a relentless commitment in coordination with the Department of Water and Power,'' O'Farrell said Monday.

“Each department mentioned ... will pay a critical role in that coordinated, focused deployment.''

The 2035 deadline came after the city released the LA100 Study, which found that the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power can reach 100% renewable energy by 2045 or sooner if it rapidly deploys wind and solar power, electrical storage and other technologies.

According to the study -- which was conducted by the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory -- the city can dramatically reduce its greenhouse gases, from 76% to 99% less than 2020 levels, by 2030 if officials begin to work toward those goals now. The study provided pathways to reach those goals, and each one has a similar trajectory, with 73% to 92% of renewable energy generation coming from wind and solar resources.

Copyright 2021, City News Service, Inc.

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