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LADWP FiT 3rd Tranche Delayed

02/05/14

  09:48:00 am, by Jim Jenal - Founder & CEO   , 751 words  
Categories: LADWP, Feed-in Tariff

LADWP FiT 3rd Tranche Delayed - UPDATE

UPDATE - 2/10 - LADWP has now revealed the reasoning behind their delay in moving forward on the program “tweaks":

The FiT Set Pricing Program was deferred from the February 4th Board of Water and Power Commissioners (Board) meeting so the Rate Payer Advocate may review the proposed changes. The program modifications and enhancements are still expected to go before the Board for review and approval at the February 18th Board meeting.

Given that no change—that is, reduction—to the set-pricing offered under the FiT was made in the proposed changes, it is pretty clear how the RPA will come out in all this.  It looks like we may be seeing a threat to the FiT’s viability come the meeting on the 18th.  Interested parties should plan to attend.


On Monday we reported on an email that we had received announcing minor changes to LADWP’s Feed-in Tariff program and the anticipated launch of the third tranche of 20 MW on February 14. Now we have learned that the Resolution adopting these changes and authorizing the third tranche, which was to be considered at yesterday’s Board of Commissioners meeting, was pulled from the agenda and “deferred until further notice!”

Bottom line: the third tranche will not be offered as of February 14.  Not sure what is going on with this, but here are our thoughts.

In reading the resolution that was to be adopted by the Board, we noted that there had been a presentation made regarding the status of the FiT by staff on December 3rd, but that the presentation was not online.  (Thanks to the kind assistance of the staff, we now have the December 3rd presentation here.)  As we suspected it must, the presentation reflected the slow progress in moving projects past the adoption of standardized contracts—a prerequisite for construction to begin. 

.FiT program status

As this chart from the presentation shows, the only projects “in service” actually date from the demonstration program, not the actual FiT.  In fact, only a bare handful of projects are even under construction, with the bulk of the first tranche still pending execution of the standardized contract and some still in the interconnection study phase.  Keep in mind the standardized contracts (SOPPA on the chart) are just that, standardized take-it-or-leave-it contracts, the form of which was available to participants before they ever submitted their initial applications!  So what could be causing this delay?  Surely the Board had some pointed questions for staff on this point

We decided to watch the video from that meeting to see if we could gain any insights into how the Board viewed this issue and to see if we could discern why consideration of this resolution was pulled without notice or explanation.

The video—you can watch it here jumping to agenda item 27A—really doesn’t go into much in the way of relevant discussion. (There is a long detour into problems that a SolarCity customer was having with a bill—post solar—that was higher than ever before, and the clear confusion on the part of Board member Barad regarding how net metering works. But that is a topic for another day.) 

There was a question as to adequate staffing, but that was not cited as a reason for the delay.

Instead, staff responds by saying that some of the developers (actually, it would appear to be nearly all of the developers) had problems filling out the standard contract. However, the proposed tweaks did not include streamlining the contract so maybe that is why there is a concern about the proposed resolution?

We also hear in the video that the CleanLA/UCLA Luskin Center coalition, which was one of the driving agents behind the FiT, was supposed to be producing a report on the FiT so far—perhaps that report raised issues that caused the postponement?  Alas, the report does not appear at the LADWP website, nor can we find it on the CleanLA website.

However, the last person to speak about the FiT is longtime FiT opponent, the Ratepayer Advocate, who once again complained about the cost of the FiT. Indeed he asked that the program switch from a set-price program to a competitive bid program.  His complaints are no better grounded now than they were a year ago, but perhaps he has caught the ear of one of the new Board members who pulled the resolution because a change in pricing was not proposed?

For now, all we can do is speculate.  But one thing is sadly certain—LADWP is playing Scrooge this Valentine’s Day as the third tranche remains on hold.

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Jim Jenal is the Founder & CEO of Run on Sun, Pasadena's premier installer and integrator of top-of-the-line solar power installations.
Run on Sun also offers solar consulting services, working with consumers, utilities, and municipalities to help them make solar power affordable and reliable.

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