Hello, sunshine: Palo Alto utility to pay locals for solar energy

By Marla Dickerson | LA Times | Link to article

Soon after the earth shook under Japan last March, NRG Energy Inc. felt aftershocks halfway around the world

Green energy may be losing momentum inside the Beltway. But officials in the heart of Silicon Valley are betting on the sun.

This week, the Palo Alto City Council approved a plan to buy clean power from local utility customers who install solar panels on their roofs. That’s right. The power company will pay them, not the other way around.

The arrangement – known by the clunky name “feed-in tariff” – is still a rarity in the United States. But Palo Alto officials want to help pioneer the effort. They’ve even rebranded their pay-for-sunshine plan with a clever acronym they hope will catch on: CLEAN (short for Clean Local Energy Accessible Now).

Under a pilot program that will kick off April 2, the City of Palo Alto Utilities will sign 20-year contracts with local producers that will pay them 14 cents per kilowatt-hour.

(complete article)