First published in the Nov. 12 print issue of the Glendale News-Press.
The Glendale City Council will revisit discussion next week on a resolution it passed back in August that aims to quadruple the number of customers installing solar and energy storage systems by 2027 and calls for the city to use 100% clean energy by 2035.
It’s unanimous decision to adopt the measure on Aug. 16 was followed by preparations to repower the Grayson Power Plant, though with three gas engines instead of five. On Tuesday, Nov. 15, the city is scheduled to hear from Glendale Water and Power regarding the request for the proposal of a development plan for clean energy studies.
“This resolution will help meet our energy needs with local clean energy, make Glendale an energy and climate leader, and help us achieve a 100% clean energy future,” said Mayor Ardy Kassahkian last July when he introduced the resolution. “Increasing customer adoption of solar and storage will provide numerous benefits including economic, health and environmental benefits.”
According to information from city staff, about 2,200 GWP customers have solar systems installed. This represents about 2.5% of GWP’s total of 88,000 customers.
The resolution from Aug. 16 directs city staff to engage one or more consultants to develop a plan to achieve a goal of at least 10% of customer solar and energy storage adoption by 2027, to calculate the amount of energy capacity and reductions in demand from reaching that goal, and analyze the benefits and costs of the plan.
The Glendale Environmental Coalition (GEC) advocated to the City Council for the resolution’s introduction. GEC touted the goals of increasing solar adoption in Glendale and switching to energy sources that are clean and non-carbon emitting, including calling for incentives and policies to expand solar and storage access for lower-income customers and at multifamily buildings and rental properties.
“We are pleased that the Council recognizes the need for clean, dispatchable energy for all our residents and businesses,” said Kate Unger, GEC steering committee member. “We need to stop focusing on a centralized, last-century energy model, and focus on the power of the sun and the power of the people. That is what animates our Glendale Solar Solution, which advocates for the 10% goal.”
The COVID-19 pandemic caused delays in processing solar system applications, according to city staff, but they believe the city is not far behind in solar production. “Rooftop solar is based on whether residents want rooftop solar on their houses. And if they did, they would apply, and we would process those applications,” said Mark Young, the general manager of Glendale Water and Power.
At the August meeting, Councilman Dan Brotman expressed concern about the pace of solar installations. “Our solar permitting has a lot of problems that need to be addressed.”
He said the resolution is needed “to send a very strong message that we need to start doing things more aggressively, and we need to pull out all the stops.”