LA City Council agrees to delay changes to solar panel incentives

Rebates for solar panels on Los Angeles rooftops may stick around as the new year begins. The L.A. City Council has agreed to delay changes in the solar incentive program.

Every utility in the state has offered cash credits for each kilowatt of power their customers get from rooftop panels. The state's Million Solar Roofs bill made that money available.

The idea was to help solar break into the energy market. From the start, the plan was to decrease the rebates over time as the market evens out. Then federal incentives for solar increased, the cost of the solar panels dropped and California's demand for rooftop solar has spiked.

About 70 percent of rebates so far have gone to commercial projects; residential solar is supposed to be half the program. L.A. water and power commissioners decided earlier this month to ratchet down the incentives, reconsider the program and possibly tweak it.

Unhappy with that, some solar installers lobbied the L.A. Cty Council to get involved. The council rejected the DWP's decision to reduce rebates, but added that the utility should freeze rooftop solar applications for three months as it works up a different plan.

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