Los Angeles bids to become first US solar city

November 26th, 2008 - 6:28 am ICT by IANS  

Los Angeles, Nov 26 (DPA) Los Angeles plans to become the first solar city in the US by generating 10 percent of its electricity through solar power, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday.The ambitious plan would create the largest solar base of any city in the world, according to solar energy experts.

Under the plan proposed by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa the sprawling city would purchase 1,280 megawatts of solar power - about 500 megawatts would come from private generating plants in the Mojave Desert, a further 380 megawatts would come from a programme to encourage residents to put solar panels on their roofs, while another 400 megawatts would come from panels on city-owned buildings.

“Our solar initiative is the largest of any kind anywhere in the world. When it takes full effect, LA will have 1,280 megawatts more capacity - more than exists in the entire United States today,” he said.

The plan, called Solar LA, is expected to cost each Los Angeles resident an extra $2 a month once it is completed.

“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.”

“Nobody’s contemplated that many megawatts for one city,” said Rhonda Mills, Southern California director of the Centre for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Technologies and a solar power advocate.

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.

Voters will decide on part of the plan when they go to the polls for local elections on March 3. They will vote on a proposal that would allow the Department of Public Works to install and own more than 400 megawatts of solar panels throughout the city.

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