SunEdison scales LA solar rooftop market with 22 MW deal


California's SunEdison has announced this week details of a bold scheme to develop 22 MW of solar rooftop installations in the state's biggest city, Los Angeles.

In an agreement with local solar developer PermaCity, SunEdison will build and operate the solar projects as part of the Beacon Bundled Solar contract that the company was awarded last July by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP).

Part of the LADWP program stipulates that local developers must be employed in any solar project in order to boost the local economy, with SunEdison opting for PermaCity on the back of its successful track record of installing solar PV systems in the city.

PermaCity will identify public and private rooftops within the LADWP service area, and will then lease these spaces from the owners – generating income for locals and fulfilling the 22 MW commitment. Once the project is completed – SunEdison will finance the installation and provide its high-performance solar panels and EPC expertise – TerraForm Power will be offered the option to acquire the systems.

According to PermaCity CEO Jonathan Port, the company’s main priority in selecting eligible local rooftops is to bring the economic and ecological benefits of these rooftop PV systems directly to the people of Los Angeles. "We’re looking to make LA a cleaner city," he said.

Any property chosen for the scheme will be eligible for financial incentives and property upgrades that can increase cash flow and are widely believed to add value to a property. Owners of properties with the systems installed will receive an annual lease payment funded by the sale of the solar electricity generated.

Alternatively, in lieu of these payments, property owners can opt for roof repairs, a net metering system, or even energy efficiency upgrades to their residence of place of business.

"The City of Los Angeles and LADWP have presented the local community with a fantastic opportunity to earn extra income by utilizing their roof space," said SunEdison SVP and general manager for commercial and industrial distributed generation Rafael Dobrzynski. "The program supports the use of local developers and we are proud to be working with PermaCity on this project."

As part of the Beacon Bundled Solar contract, SunEdison is also tasked with adding a further 88 MW of utility-scale PV to the Californian grid, and has earmarked a site in Kern County for this installation. Completion of this facility is scheduled for 2016. Combined, these two projects will add 110 MW of solar power generation capacity to California’s grid, generating some 700 jobs in the process.

PermaCity confirmed it plans to hire veterans and youth in a number of permanent positions across the two schemes.

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