LA Solar Group

PV (photovoltaic) technology, rising energy costs, and government incentives are factors that made going solar a .  Energy policies in California helped fund incentives programs throughout the state to encourage utility customers to go solar.  Since 1999, the LADWP Solar Incentive Program has made solar affordable for homes and businesses making Los Angeles one of the top cities in America with the most installed solar power.

To date, LADWP has paid approximately $317.4 millions in incentives to their customers that installed rooftop solar.  That’s about 238 Megawatts of installations, 31,864 solar systems that received incentives. But with $7.6 million remaining, it’s uncertain if LADWP will discontinue their Solar Incentive Program (SIP) once it’s all paid for.  That’s why it’s important to know more about the SIP and how it will discount the cost of a rooftop solar system.

How The Program Works

Only those properties that integrate the solar system with the utility’s grid (on-grid) are eligible to receive the incentive. Off-grid solar systems are disqualified from receiving the credit.  By being connected to their grid, the property owner will automatically be enrolled in Net Energy Metering (NEM) billing.

To be eligible, a project’s system size must have a minimum AC size of 1.5kW. Commercial projects that want to apply for the SIP are limited to 150kW AC. The solar incentives are paid per watt according to the type of property:

Residential: $.25 paid per watt

Commercial: $.30 paid per watt

Non-Profit/Government: $.95 paid per watt

When going solar, a home or business will need to apply for the incentive through a five-step process. You’re first going to want to submit a Reservation Request to the SIP.  The reservation will initiate the application process so be sure to apply prior to the solar installation taking place.  Once the reservation has been made, the next step is to request a solar meter from the utility. The purpose of the solar meter is for LADWP to track net metered energy delivered by solar system to the utility. This is energy that was produced from the system but not consumed by the property.  Keep in mind the solar meter is required for systems larger than 10kW AC (alternating current).  Once the request is made, LADWP will schedule a technician or Electric Service Representative to visit the property and install the meter.

The rebate application for SIP is the next step after requesting a meter. The application is submitted online through Powerclerk, their online SIP submission portal.  An Account Request Form is required to gain access to Powerclerk.  When the application is submitted, you’ll receive confirmation on the rebate reservation. This also includes a dollar amount based on how much rebate you’ll receive toward the cost of the your system’s installation. LADWP will then review and process the payment.  Once approved, LADWP will send an email with permission to install the solar system. After solar installation, the system will be inspected by the city’s Department of Building & Safety (LADBS) and a final permit will be issued by the city inspector. This permit will then be submitted to LADWP to connect and “turn on” the system. You’ll also receive  a second email from LADWP notifying you that you have permission to operate the solar system (PTO).  When then system has been turned on and fully activated with the utility grid, the final step is for you to submit a Payment Claim Request through Powerclerk to receive the rebate. The request must include:

LADBS approved drawings and diagrams of the system’s layout and inverter locations.
Images of each solar array installed on the roof
Image of the inverter
Image of the PTO letter that was sent vis email
Image of inverter nameplate

LADWP will then mail the incentive payment in form of a check.

Both utility customer and solar contractor can apply for the SIP.  As a utility customer, we recommend that you give authority to your solar contractor to facilitate the SIP.  As a solar contractor, our administration team has substantial experience with the process and has built a good faith relationship with LADWP.  This allows for quicker processing time to get the solar system installed and also to receive the incentive check.  To learn more about our process to get your system installed and activated, contact us to learn more.

Robert Sarai

Robert Sarai is a leading expert in energy efficiency and sustainability with L.A. Solar Group. He oversees development and marketing efforts to guide property owners toward smart energy solutions. He can be contacted directly at 818-946-2320 or LinkedIn Profile


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