Popular solar rebates back at DWP, but they're shrinking

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File photo: Employees of Solar Forward install solar electric panels on a residential rooftop on February 27, 2009 in Santa Monica, California.

The popular rebates for rooftop solar systems that the L.A. Department of Water and Power suspended will start again in the fall.

Homeowners, businesses and nonprofits asked for more money than the state-funded solar rebate program had, so the municipal utility for Los Angeles put the program on hold before it went bust. But the Department of Water and Power has found more money for solar rebates by directing proceeds from bonds to double solar funding, and plans to re-start it in September.

L.A. power managers also had to clear a backlog of inspections required for the rebate. They sped up and streamlined inspections, reducing the wait time to about a week for a meter that spins forward when a home uses energy and backwards when solar panels generate power to the grid.

When the rebate program starts up again, the agency says it will revise rebates downward to more closely match those offered by investor-owned utilities in California, like Edison. Homeowners will get less generous rebates, but the upside, according to the agency, is that more homeowners will actually receive them.

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