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In unusual move, LA City Council may rule on solar rooftop rebate tomorrow

Lower rebates offered by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power aren't sitting well with solar installers who serve the territory, and the L.A. City Council might step into the dispute.

A few months ago, Water and Power Commissioners froze a rebate for rooftop solar because DWP officials said the program was too popular.

They reasoned that the program needed tweaking to ensure that rebate money is available for the program's remaining three years. Last week they brought the program back with lower individual rebates for projects, this time doubling the amount of money available.

DWP says that'll spread more money around, but companies that sell and install rooftop panels say L.A. is already behind other cities in bringing energy from the sun to the grid. They argue that the retooled rebate will chill consumer interest in L.A.

That argument persuaded Councilman Tony Cardenas and Councilwoman Jan Perry to consider taking jurisdiction over the program. This kind of move, called a 245 motion, rarely happens. If the motion passes, city council would hold more hearings on the rebates. That might delay the program, now set to restart in September, yet again.