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Report: LADWP's Rooftop Solar Energy Program Failed To Meet Goals

LOS ANGELES ( — A report released Friday says the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power's rooftop solar energy program failed to meet its goals, with only a small fraction of the approved projects generating energy since the program began in 2012.

The LADWP's "feed-in tariff" program allows property owners to install solar panels on their buildings and sell the energy back to the utility.

But despite having already authorized 150 megawatts of solar projects, just 6.5 megawatts are currently being generated, according to the UCLA/USC report commissioned by the Los Angeles Business Council Institute.

Another 8.2 megawatts are under contract and awaiting construction, and 56 megawatts are in the works, according to the report.

The report also found the programs were delayed by limited staffing, with the number of the equivalent of three full-time workers in the program in 2013, even though there was originally a budget for 30.

The report recommended increasing staffing and processing applications for the program based on how ready the projects are, rather than on when they are submitted.

Researchers also said the city could see "exponentially greater benefits" by increasing the program's capacity to 1,500 megawatts by 2025. This would result in 36,000 new jobs -- enough energy to power more than 300,000 homes -- and the elimination of 26 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions, the report said.

The heightened pace would also help the city stay on track to meet anticipated state mandated renewable energy goals, according to the report.

The report also found that LADWP's existing program resulted in 2,000 new jobs, $300 million in direct investment and the displacement of 2.7 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions.

(©2015 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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