Part of Mayor Villaraigosa's solar program released last year includes what's called a feed-in tariff program, to be administered by the Department of Water and Power. A FiT requires utilities to buy solar power generated by residents, businesses, and public organizations. The system has worked in Sacramento, Vermont, and Germany, but a new report by the Los Angeles Business Council and UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation (link goes to pdf) "shows that neither LADWP’s proposed feed-in tariff nor Southern California Edison’s existing feed-in tariff will effectively contribute" to LA's renewable energy goals. The report found that for a program to work, "The most influential design elements are the tariff basis, total program cap, and participant application procedures." Tariffs, it says, should cover production costs and give "a reasonable rate of return," and the program should be easy to apply for since "[m]ost people who own favorable solar sites are not energy professionals." The report also says that public and commercial properties will be the most cost-effective places for solar panels, and that the right FiT program would allow LA tax benefits and subsidies from state and federal solar-encouraging program.
· Designing an Effective Feed-In Tariff For Greater Los Angeles (link goes to pdf) [LA Business Council, via Inhabitat]