Organization highlights Los Angeles’ vast potential for solar energyMay 11, 2012
Rooftop solar energy systems could bring major energy benefits to the city
The Los Angeles Business Council (LABC), a non-profit advocacy organization, has announced that Los Angeles is poised to benefit from solar energy because of the excessive availability of rooftop space throughout the city. This space is ideal for solar energy systems because of its constant exposure to sunlight. According to the LABC, the city is home to more than 12,000 acres of usable rooftop space, which could be used to generate over 5.5 gigawatts of electricity. This would be enough to power many of the city’s homes and businesses.
CLEAN LA initiative could help push solar energy forward in the city
The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power recently approved a solar energy feed-in tariff called CLEAN LA. The initiative aims to make solar energy more attractive to consumers by paying them for the surplus clean electricity they produce. The feed-in tariff is designed after a similar initiative in Germany, which was considered to be successful. City officials believe that the financial incentive will help expand the use of solar energy throughout Los Angeles and reduce the city’s reliance on fossil-fuels, thereby lowering the cost of energy.
Rooftop territory could be suitable host for solar energy systems
According to the LABC, Los Angeles’ rooftops could be viable territory for solar energy systems. This is due to the structure of the city. At solar energy farms, solar panels are typically clustered together in close proximity. This intensifies a problem that has plague solar energy for decades: Cloudy weather. A single cloud can reduce the energy production of solar panels if it is large enough. Solar arrays situated on Los Angeles rooftops can avoid this problem because they are spread out. The LABC believes that clouds could affect less than 20 kilowatts worth of solar panels if spread out in this way, compared to the 20,000 kilowatts of electricity lost at conventional solar farms because of clouds.
Rooftop solar plans may run afoul of some businesses that do not support alternative energy
Much of this rooftop space goes unoccupied, but the city cannot simply install solar panels as it sees feet. Many of the buildings that would be ideal hosts for solar energy systems belong to companies that have shown little interest in alternative energy. The city would have to win the favor of these companies with financial incentives in order for such a plan to work.