As major climate legislation that would dramatically increase our investment in renewable energy approaches the Governor’s desk, this is a critical time to be thinking about low-income communities, including South Los Angeles, for whom the benefits of renewable energy investment have been largely out of reach.
The Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy (LAANE), in partnership with my organization, Strategic Concepts in Organizing and Policy Education (SCOPE), recently conducted an analysis of the L.A. Department of Water and Power’s most established renewable energy program, the Solar Incentives Program (SIP). We found that this residential rooftop solar initiative has left South L.A. behind, along with Wilmington, Boyle Heights, Pacoima and other communities.
This program offers incentives for residents who buy and install their own rooftop solar energy systems from private solar companies. In the past 15 years, LADWP has invested more than $115 million of ratepayer funds to support the development of residential rooftop solar.
(In today’s Los Angeles Daily News, staff writer Dakota Smith reports on one of the city’s most promising initiatives — an energy efficiency program that is saving consumers money, creating jobs and reducing our energy use. The project, a partnership between the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 18 , the union representing the utility’s workers, and the Department of Water and Power, has received strong support from RePower LA, a broad-based coalition that promotes the economic and environmental benefits of energy efficiency.)
Lorraine Cannon stretches every dollar. The 84-year-old lives off a monthly retirement check from L.A County, and she shares her Pacoima house with her granddaughter and three young great-grandchildren.
But now helping to pay the bills is an unlikely source: the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.
Cannon’s house was picked for an energy efficiency makeover by the department,