Los Angeles Could Easily be a Solar-Powered City

UCLA’s Luskin Center has created a “Los Angeles Solar Atlas” showing the solar potential in Los Angeles County on a variety of different scales. It created solar maps for each city and zone in the county and for the jurisdiction of each of the county’s 7 utilities, as well as for the county as a whole.

Some key findings include that:

  • Nearly 1.5 million rooftops throughout Los Angeles County could be used as solar power generators.
  • On the whole, there’s currently enough potential roof space to create 19,000 MW from rooftop solar.
  • The total rooftop solar potential for the city of Los Angeles is over 5,500 MW, which could power the city on most days. (The highest-ever peak in Los Angeles was 6,177.) Of course, the city must have more power capacity than is needed at peak times.

Now, if you took the solar potential from all of Los Angeles city’s parking lots into account as well, a reader over on CleanTechnica (where I initially wrote about this) has pointed out that it would have far more PV solar potential than is needed to power the city and provide the necessary backup capacity.

To ensure that the power stays on at night when the sun is down, in the case that storage options can’t live up to the task, the commenter, Bob Wallace, had another good suggestion as well:

“It can sell some of that extra solar north via the Pacific Intertie and get hydro-produced energy back at night from the Pacific Northwest.”

Looks like a plan — it sure would be cool to see the city pursue and achieve it. It would change my view of L.A.

Read more about the Los Angeles Solar Atlas on CleanTechnica:

Los Angeles Could be Solar Powered (Sort of), UCLA Study Finds

Or check out any of the solar maps here:

The full atlas can be downloaded [PDF — 92 MB], or you can download just the jurisdictions you’re interested in:


Cities and Zones


  • http://www.solwayrecycling.co.uk Solway Recycling

    It just makes sense to try and utilise as much of the resource that is already available locally.

    We’re looking at the potential for Perth in the UK to use animal by products to fuel a good percentage of the local energy needs. The population is much smaller but the resource has potential.

    There must be many more areas with similar potential.

    • http://www.cleantechnica.com Zach

      Agreed. Each place has its own good resources that can be sustainably utilized, I think. We have the technology available today.