DWP program looks to make solar panels more affordable

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A new Los Angeles program starting up soon looks to help pay the costs of solar systems for homeowners in lower-income communities. (KABC)

A new Los Angeles program starting up soon looks to help pay the costs of solar systems for homeowners in lower-income communities.

Solar systems can cost from $10,000 to $20,000 to install, according to the Department of Water and Power.

That has priced vast areas of Los Angeles out of the solar game.

A map by the non-profit RePower LA Coalition shows how more-affluent Westside communities have been able to take advantage of current incentives offered by the DWP for solar systems, while poorer communities have not.

"There's a real inequity in terms of who has access to solar," said Jessica Goodheart with RePower LA. "Communities like the Eastside, Wilmington, South LA - you could call them solar deserts."

Some of the playing field may be leveled now that the DWP's board has approved a $12.9 million program to install solar panels in those communities and pay homeowners to do it.

DWP will own the systems and lease them out to homeowners, meaning no upfront costs. The program requires a 20-year commitment, but it will also pay homeowners back $30 a month in a DWP credit.

Applications for the Community Solar Program, available for up to 400 households, open in January.
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