The solar rooftop project, approved by the California Public Utilities Commission last June, calls for a total of 500 MW of solar generating capacity, most of it on otherwise unused large warehouse rooftops. Half of the 500 MW will be from independent power producers who respond to SCE’s request for offers under competitive solicitations; the remaining 250 MW will be owned and operated by SCE. It is expected that this project will create about 1,200 jobs for Southern Californians.
When complete, the solar panels will cover an area totaling four square miles on about 250 otherwise unused warehouse roofs. The total power production will rival a utility-scale power plant, says SCE, with enough electricity to serve 325,000 average homes at a point in time. SCE has already installed panels on three rooftop warehouses in California’s Inland Empire that are delivering — or are in line to deliver — electricity to the grid.
"These contracts make significant strides toward distributed renewable generation for one of the most innovative solar programs in the country," said Marc Ulrich, SCE vice president, Renewable and Alternative Power. "We’re working to help California meet its Million Solar Roofs goal and supply even more renewable energy to our customers where and when it’s most needed, without the added time and expense to construct major new transmission facilities." The contracts awarded today are the first executed under the competitive solicitations for independent power producers.
SCE believes that its solar rooftop project will be a boon for the solar industry and consumers alike, with the resulting cost per unit significantly more cost effective than more common residential PV installations in California. Eventually, this could help drive down installation costs of PV generation for everyone, says the company.