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Los Angeles Solar: Your Time Has Come. Seriously.

Avatar for Dave Llorens
Published on 08/30/2009 in
Updated 04/24/2020
Photo: Flickr/Fabio Ikezaki

Photo: Flickr/Fabio Ikezaki

If you’ve been waiting to go solar in Los Angeles, wait no more. Seriously. Right now, Los Angeles has the richest rebate in the State. Why? Long and painful story. Bottom line is that LADWP is a very powerful voice in the California legislator and happens to own a coal fired power plant….So they weren’t exactly encouraging L.A. people to go solar.

In fact, they kept utility rates artificially low, almost encouraging people to waste energy in Los Angles and burn more coal.

But all that’s changed as of July 2009, when Los Angels actually switched to tiered rates and finally implemented the California Solar Initiative program. As a result, getting solar in Los Angeles is now extremely cost effective with fast payback and a huge rebate that’s not going to last, so get it before they run out of money or LADWP starts realizing they need to throw in more red tape into solar like they were doing before. Don’t get me started.

The point is that I do not trust the utility or Los Angeles politicians to not slip a monkey wrench into the rebate program and slow it down again. So that’s why you should get a free quote as soon as you can and get solar now.

Shall I show you an example of an average system? You betcha. Let’s say you’re average monthly LADWP electric portion of your bill is $240 every two months. (Remember: LADWP charges you every two months and your bill includes the water as well, so if you’re comparing, do the numbers.) So that breaks down to:

  • Current Average Electric Bill Over 12 months: $120/month
  • Solar System Size: 5kW DC
  • This takes care of: 82% of your electricity usage after installation.
  • Initial installed price before incentives: $35,000. (Don’t panic!)
  • L. A. Solar rebate: $20,173 (Breathe. It gets better.)
  • 30% Federal Tax Credit (calculated after L.A. Solar Rebate) $4,448 (Yes!)
  • Net cost: $10,379!
  • Payback time if you switch to the solar Time-of-Use rate plan and LADWP rates go up 3% a year: 8.8 years. (Faster payback if rates rise faster—and they may.)
  • Your new yearly net electric bill: $267.00
  • In terms of helping the environment, it’s the equivalent of taking 9,290 lbs of carbon dioxide pollution out of the air every year or it’s like planting .7 acres of trees every year. Los Angeles squirrels and asthmatic kids will thank you.

And by the way, folks, that same 5kW size solar system will cover 99% of your electric bill if you’re currently paying $100/month average bill over 12 months. If you use more electricity, obviously, the 10 grand system cost is going to be higher. Less, lower. Must I really say this? Also, it’s always a good idea to do some energy efficiency measures too, BTW.

So, what’s the catch? There’s got to be a catch, you say. Honest, there is no catch. That $7/watt is a pretty fair average pre-rebate price. Could be higher or lower, depending on competition in L.A right now. The only thing I would say is that some homes have special needs. Read about these costs here.

Otherwise, please, my fellow Angelinos, I beg you all, for the sake of the environment and your very own wallets to take advantage of these rebates now before LADWP realizes what they’ve done (i.e., losing a lot of business for the next 25 years of your solar panel’s life). Get a free quote.

I wouldn’t put it past LADWP to start imposing new fees or unnecessary building codes  and red tape that everyone outside of Los Angles doesn’t have to worry about. And if you do get your system, tell us about it under this post, and how it went. Thanks!

Last modified: April 24, 2020

3 thoughts on “Los Angeles Solar: Your Time Has Come. Seriously.

  1. Avatar for Jamie Jamie says:

    Check out Mike Bonifer’s Solar Panel the Hollywood Sign Project! Mike and Deep Patel are creating inroads into the mental changeover necessary (!!!) to help the people of LA understand the awesomeness of solar energy.

    1. Avatar for Dan Hahn Dan Hahn says:

      Really cool Jamie! Thanks for the links.

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