The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) has operated a solar program since 1999. They offer a net metering program to customers who connect their solar system to the energy grid. When your system is not generating enough power for your home, your electricity will be supplied by the power grid. When your system is generating excess power, your meter will run backwards and you will receive a credit on your bill.
LADWP is a municipal utility that serves the city of Los Angeles, as well as parts of Bishop, Culver City, South Pasadena, and West Hollywood. They offer net metering to residential and commercial customers across their entire service territory.
LADWP’s rates and prices for net metering are equivalent to the amount that you pay per kilowatt-hour (kWh) for your electricity. For residential customers, this varies throughout the year, and also depends on how much electricity you use in a month. Rates are set a few months in advance and change each year.
While net metering credits can cover the cost of your electricity use, LADWP customers also pay a minimum charge and some adjustment factors. The minimum charge for the Standard Residential Rate is $10 per month plus the Adjustment Factors.
LADWP doesn’t have a net metering cap for their service territory. However, no individual LADWP customer can apply for net metering with a system that is larger than 1 megawatt (MW).
Overall, California is a great place to have solar panels because of the high amount of sunshine and availability of net metering programs at most utilities. LADWP is a publicly-owned utility, and its rates and prices are flat throughout the day for residential customers. As a result, the value of your net metering credits through LADWP are fixed.
There are six “investor-owned” utilities in California, and about 50 publicly owned utilities, which includes LADWP.
By comparison, in the six “investor-owned utilities” in California (including SDG&E, PG&E, and SCE) new net metering customers are automatically enrolled in “net metering 2.0,” which has a slightly different structure from LADWP’s net metering program. Net metering 2.0 requires that solar PV system owners enroll in time-of-use (TOU) pricing, where your electricity rate (and therefore the value of your net metering credits) changes depending on the time of day.
If you are on a TOU plan, your electricity costs less when demand is low, and rates go up when demand is high. As a result, your net metering credits may be worth more or less than LADWP net metering credits depending on when you feed solar electricity back into the grid. Learn more about net metering 2.0.
If your system produces excess energy, then your bill will be credited for the excess power sent back to the grid at a retail rate. These credits never expire. The excess bill credits cannot be used to offset taxes or other charges that are not related to energy. If there is credit remaining on your account if you terminate your service, the balance will go to LADWP.
LADWP previously had a solar rebate offering, but the program ran out of funds in late 2018. They are not currently offering any rebates or other incentives for new solar customers.
In order to connect your system to the grid, you have to take a few steps to ensure you receive your two-way meter. If you system is bigger than 10 kW, you need to follow the Standard Solar Process, which includes:
If your system falls under the Solar Incentive Program, you don’t have to wait for your rebate to be processed in order to start your system. If you system is less than 10kW, you can follow the steps outlined here and potentially qualify for the Fast Track Process so that you can skip a performance meter test. This means your system does not need a panel upgrade, a backup battery, or other generation systems that need to be connected – you just need to include photos of your system. You will receive approval from the LA Department of Building and Safety, at which point the LADWP crew can install the two-way meter.
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