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Southern California Edison Plans 250MW of PV Installations

October 04, 2009 Trackback K2 Solar News Edit

Southern California Edison (SCE) today launched the nation's largest solar cell installation, a project that will place 250 megawatts of advanced photovoltaic generating technology on 65 million square feet of roofs of Southern California commercial buildings - enough power to serve approximately 162,000 homes.

"These are the kinds of big ideas we need to meet California's long-term energy and climate change goals," said Governor Schwarzenegger. "I urge others to follow in their footsteps. If commercial buildings statewide partnered with utilities to put this solar technology on their rooftops, it would set off a huge wave of renewable energy growth."

"This project will turn two square miles of unused commercial rooftops into advanced solar generating stations," said John E. Bryson, Edison International chairman and CEO. "We hope to have the first solar rooftops in service by August. The sunlight power will be available to meet our largest challenge - peak load demands on the hottest days."

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SCE's renewable energy project was prompted by recent advances in solar technology that reduce the cost of installed photovoltaic generation. When combined with the size of SCE's investment, the resulting costs per unit are projected to be half that of common photovoltaic installations in California.

"The scale of this project is unprecedented," said Mike Peevey, California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) president. "It clearly illustrates once again Edison's leadership position in the development of new renewable technology."

SCE today asked the CPUC for approval to install the solar cell technology during the next five years. The request estimates the total project cost will be $875 million (in today's dollars). The utility plans to begin installation work immediately on commercial roofs in Southern California's Inland Empire, San Bernardino and Riverside counties, the nation's fastest growing urban region

"These new solar stations, which we will be installing at a rate of one megawatt a week, will provide a new source of clean energy, directly in the fast-growing regions where we need it most," said Bryson.

SCE sees numerous customer benefits from its new solar program, among them locating the new generation in areas of growing customer demand. And the clusters of solar modules SCE plans to install will be connected directly to the nearest neighborhood circuit, eliminating the need to build new transmission lines to bring the power to customers. Additionally, solar units produce the most power when customer usage is at its highest. SCE believes its commercial solar roofs program will boost several California environmental initiatives, especially the Million Solar Roofs program that provides incentives to encourage Californians to install solar projects by 2017. SCE's solar program supports the state's Global Warming Solutions Act requiring the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, as well as California's renewable portfolio standard requiring that 20 percent of the state's electricity be generated with renewable energy by 2010.

As part of the program, ProLogis, the world's largest owner, manager and developer of distribution facilities, has entered into an agreement to lease roof space to SCE.

In the initial phase of this program, the utility will lease 607,000 square feet of roof space at ProLogis' Kaiser Distribution Park in Fontana, California. The area will be used to install and maintain solar panels with a peak capacity of 2.2 megawatts, equivalent to the amount of electricity generation for 1,426 households for one year.

"This project has the potential to become a breakthrough solar energy program," said Jeffrey H. Schwartz, ProLogis chairman and chief executive officer. "We are thrilled to partner with SCE on their first rooftop solar installation and look forward to providing additional roof space as the project gains momentum, which will in turn support our own sustainability goals and leverage existing assets."

ProLogis also has a total of one megawatt of solar panel projects installed or under development in Europe. At ProLogis Park Chanteloup in France the company has installed roof-mounted solar panels, generating electricity that is incorporated back into the local French utility power grid. In Spain, at ProLogis Park Penedes, the company installed state-of-the-art, amorphous silicon solar panels that produce electricity using a wider spectrum of light than traditional crystalline technology, thus enabling maximum output.

"Our experience to date in France and Spain has shown that we can effectively use rooftop solar panels to generate environmentally conscious, renewable energy, meeting the needs of local communities while also enhancing the return on investment from our properties," said Jack Rizzo, managing director of global construction at ProLogis. "Our agreement with SCE is the first of its kind in the United States and lays the groundwork for similar programs throughout the country. With more than 500 million square feet of roof space worldwide, we see continued potential in harnessing the power of solar energy from our rooftops."

Source: SCE

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