The L.A. City Council approved a pilot plan Tuesday to let the Department of Water and Power buy back solar energy from property owners who have installed solar panels on their homes and businesses.

The power will be purchased through a “feed-in tariff” program, and the city is expected to sign contracts with 60 local commercial and residential property owners to buy about 75 megawatts of energy for now.

It's a smart plan, putting all that SoCal sunshine to good use. Officials said they hope the city will be able to purchase 150 megawatts — 3 percent of L.A.'s total power usage — at some point in the future, the City News Service reported.

A 150-megawatt feed-in tariff would power…

…the equivalent 34,000 homes in the city, according to a press release issued by the Los Angeles Business Council, who strongly backed the Council's decision.

The approval of the full LABC Clean LA solar program, which includes the complete 150-megawatt feed-in tariff plan, would, according to the release:

“…create 4,500 jobs, generate

$500 million in economic activity and offset 2.25 million tons of carbon dioxide

emissions by 2016.”

Wow…what a day for the DWP! Seems like the department has finally learned how to give and not just take!

Oh, except DWP General Manager Ron Nichols also proposed increased power and water rates on the same day the Council authorized the solar energy plan. (Also that day, six separate L.A. water mains started leaking, causing flooding and street closures.)

Ahh, now that's more like the department (or secret society?) we know.

LA Weekly