Los Angeles mayor pitches solar power plan

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa proposed a plan to generate a tenth of Los Angeles' power through solar energy by 2020.

Villaraigosa, speaking at a solar panel manufacturing plant, said his plan would produce 1,280 megawatts of power — most from private generating plants in the Mojave Desert, but also from public facilities and smaller programs to encourage residents to install solar panels on their homes.

He touted the installation of 1,700 panels on the roof of the Staples Center this year as a step toward reducing consumption of fossil fuels.

"LA has everything it takes to make this work," Villaraigosa said. "We have the sun in abundancy. We have the space. We have the largest municipal utility in the country."

Los Angeles Department of Water and Power General Manager David Nahai said his agency will conduct a financial analysis of the plan and its effect on ratepayers over the next 90 days.

The mayor is also trying to use redevelopment funds to entice clean technology companies into the city and investing city pension money in environmentally responsible companies in a bid to make Los Angeles a player in the solar energy industry.

A DWP watchdog questioned the financial effects of the mayor's proposal.

"There is one huge assumption here — that they'll get these huge tax credits, volume discounts and economies of scale," said Jack Humphreville, a neighborhood council member who has been pressing the DWP to appoint a ratepayer advocate. "I have serious questions about whether that is pie-in-the-sky or not."


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