Southern California Edison Completes
First of Its Major Commercial Rooftop Solar Installations
Dec 2, 2008 - Business Wire
Southern California Edison (SCE) today
announced completion of the first of its proposed
150 solar photovoltaic installations on Southern California
commercial rooftops. The project could eventually
cover two square miles of existing commercial roofs
with 250 million watts of peak generating capacity
- equivalent to building several utility-scale solar
During recent months, the 600,000-square-foot
Fontana, Calif., distribution warehouse roof selected
as the first installation site has been fitted with
33,700 advanced thin-film solar panels making it the
largest single rooftop solar photovoltaic array in
California. The facility now generates enough power
during peak output conditions to meet the needs of
approximately 1,300 Inland Empire homes.
"Here in California, we are taking action
to protect the environment by passing laws and setting
standards and our companies and entrepreneurs are
rising to the challenge," said Governor Schwarzenegger.
"Edison's rooftop plan is the nation's largest solar
installation program by a utility, and it is just
one example of how private companies are helping us
reduce our emissions and meet our renewable energy
goals. Projects like this one show the world you can
protect the environment and also pump up the economy,
and I am proud to say it is happening right here in
"This innovative solar rooftop initiative
is a natural extension of our industry leadership
in renewable energy," said Ted Craver, Edison International
chairman and CEO. "We are driving solar technology
forward and identifying creative new ways to integrate
solar power into the electricity grid. A program of
this scale could transform solar generation, helping
bring costs down and providing us with another important
way to meet the environmental challenges of the future."
SCE officials also announced today the
choice of their next solar installation site. The
utility will begin construction soon atop a 458,000-square-foot
industrial building in Chino, Calif., owned by the
Multi-Employer Property Trust, and advised by Kennedy
Associates. Additionally, the utility announced that
the solar panel supplier for the Fontana installation
- First Solar of Tempe, Ariz. - is once again the
winning bidder for the utility's second installation.
Decisions have not been made on other building sites.
SCE's renewable energy project, being
called a solar power game changer because of its unprecedented
scope and consumer price benefits, was prompted by
advances in solar technology that reduce the cost
of installed photovoltaic generation to approximately
half that of current similar installations. Additionally,
the utility hopes to fill a gap it has observed in
current rooftop solar projects in the state - mid-range
one- to two-megawatt installations.
"SCE's is one of the nation's leading
utilities. We commend their strategic decision to
invest in utility retained generation; this pilot
program is sited in the high peak load areas and will
provide efficiencies to the grid while creating hundreds
of jobs in California," said John Carrington, First
Solar executive vice president of global marketing
and business development. "We are excited to have
been awarded the first and second pilots in SCE's
commercial solar rooftop installation project and
look forward to working together on future opportunities."
Numerous Potential Benefits Seen
SCE sees numerous benefits to customers,
the region and the state from its massive solar project.
The program will provide a new generation source to
areas where customer demand is rising. The solar modules
can be connected directly and quickly to the nearest
neighborhood circuit while major new renewable energy
transmission lines are being built. Additionally,
the output of solar panels generally matches peak
customer demand -- lower in the morning and evening,
higher in the afternoon.
SCE anticipates its solar power project
will create new jobs in Southern California in the
solar industry. The International Brotherhood of Electrical
Workers, one of SCE's project partners, is supporting
the project through the expansion of its solar installation
apprentice training program.
SCE's solar project also is designed
to supplement several California environmental programs,
especially the Go Solar California campaign, which
provides incentives to encourage Californians to install
solar projects by 2017. The SCE program supports the
state's Global Warming Solutions Act, which requires
the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to 1990
levels by 2020, as well as complementing California's
renewable portfolio standard, the goal that 20 percent
of state's electricity be generated with renewable
The utility received its first regulatory
response to the project on Sept. 18, 2008, when the
California Public Utilities Commission authorized
the recording of costs for the first three installations
while SCE awaits regulatory review and response to
the entire $875 million project due in March 2009.
How It Works
Solar panels are made of materials that
convert sunlight directly into electricity through
a chemical process.
-- Thin semiconductor layers form an
electric field, positive on one side and negative
on the other side.
-- When sunlight strikes the semiconductor,
electrons are knocked loose from the atoms of the
material creating the current.
-- Wires are attached to the positive
and negative sides to carry the electricity from the
cell to the device to be powered.
About Southern California Edison
An Edison International (NYSE:EIX) company,
Southern California Edison is the largest electric
utility in California, serving a population of more
than 13 million via 4.8 million customer accounts
in a 50,000-square-mile service area within Central,
Coastal and Southern California.
SOURCE: Southern California Edison