With sweeping views of LA’s ample solar friendly rooftop space, elected officials, business, health and environmental groups assembled on the top floor of LA City Hall to launch an unprecedented solar campaign. The goal? To get 20% of LA’s power from rooftop solar by 2020.
This week’s press announcement highlighted a new report called Solar in the Southland, by the Environment California Research & Policy Center describing the benefits of achieving 20% rooftop solar. And the benefits appeared to be as numerous as the many groups that assembled in support of it.
Health advocates like Dr. Luis Pacheco, the Co-Chair for CAUSE (Californians Against Utilities Stopping solar Energy) said, “Rooftop solar puts Los Angeles on a path toward cleaner air, healthier communities, and economic growth. To ensure long-term public health for all Angelenos, we need to do everything we can to encourage and support solar growth.”
Environmental groups also roundly endorsed the measure. The Sierra Club’s Evan Gillespie, who said, “Swapping out old and dirty coal plants for new and dirty gas plants would be a costly error when so much free sunshine falls on our homes and businesses every day.” And Michelle Kinman, with the Environment California Research & Policy Center added, “With our abundant sunshine, our miles upon miles of rooftops, and our love of new technology, solar power is a no-brainer for Los Angeles.”
Councilmember Paul Koretz, echoed the ‘no brainer’ sentiment and added “the more solar we bring to rooftops right here in LA, the more jobs we bring to build them.” His parting shot at the fossil fuels industry: “…a solar ‘spill’ is just another nice day in LA”.
Fortunately for LA, Koretz is not alone. Both mayoral candidates – Eric Garcetti and Wendy Greuel – wholeheartedly endorse the 20% by 2020 rooftop solar goal. And interestingly, because LA’s DWP (Department of Water and Power) is a publicly owned utility, it also supports rooftop solar as it seeks to replace or repower 70% of its current energy supply over the next 15 years with clean energy solutions like solar power.
And just as enthusiastic is the LA business community who noted that reaching the 20% goal would require installing 1.2 gigawatts, which would save Angelenos money on energy costs and create approximately 32,000 job-years of employment. Michelle Garakian, Vice President of the Los Angeles Business Council summed up the business perspective saying, “increasing our city’s solar capacity is good for business, it’s good for jobs, and it’s good for the environment.”
Craig Lewis, Executive Director of the Clean Coalition highlighted the big financial picture by describing how the “economics of rooftop solar are a win-win for Los Angeles, because as a robust market is achieved, local investment grows and energy spending stays in the region. Additionally, solar power quickly becomes one of the cheapest sources of electricity available.”
Unanimous agreements between politicians, business leaders, utilities, environmentalists, health advocates, and public interest groups, seem few and far between these days, and it’s a stunning testament to the broad appeal of solar power. Cleaner, cheaper, renewable energy, that creates jobs, and saves our environment, our health, and our money apparently gets everybody’s vote.