In January 2013, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, the city’s municipal utility, became the largest provider of Feed in Tariffs (FiTs) in the country. FiTs are a contract between renewable energy producers and a utility company that guarantees payment over a number of years, typically 20. FiTs are recognized as a critical way to finance community-scale renewables because the dedicated payment stream can help residents secure financing. The Los Angeles program aims to create 100 MW of local renewable energy by 2016. While most projects are solar, all renewable energy resources are eligible. Projects can range from 30 kW to 3 MW in size. 20% of FiTs are reserved for small projects less than 150 kW.
Further, the LADWP has worked to identify areas of high solar potential and high economic need (high economic need areas are defined as neighborhoods that have over 12% unemployment, 25% of population living under 150% of Median Household Income, and 50% of population having a High School degree or less). As of July 2013, there were over 35 solar projects participating in the FiT, 20 of which are located in zip codes with high solar potential and high economic need.