Southern California Edison will install 250 megawatts of solar panels on 65 million square feet of roofs – that’s two square miles – of Southern California commercial buildings at a cost of $875 million. That project will be the nation’s largest solar cell installation. Enough solar to power 162,000 homes.
Here’s the plan. In the initial phase of the 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 the potential to generate enough electricity to power 1,426 households for one year.
At the conclusion of the start-up phase, which will include five to 10 additional installations and is expected to be completed by the end of 2008, the utility will launch its full renewable energy project, aiming to complete 50 megawatts of solar panel installations each year for a total of 250 MW. Each individual installation is expected to comprise one to two megawatts.
“I urge others to follow in their footsteps,” said Governor Schwarzenegger. “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.”
SCE hopes to have the first solar rooftops in service by August. The company says it will install at the rate of one megawatt a week.
The program would give a big boost to California’s Million Solar Roofs program and help SCE meet a state requirement to get 20 percent of its energy from renewables by 2010..
Yesterday, EL reported that solar companies are becoming financial intermediaries, leading companies to install solar power that wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford it.