16.4 MW rooftop PV plant to be built in Los Angeles

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Los Angeles-based solar developer PermaCity will place a 2 million-square-foot solar array on four privately owned warehouse buildings on Westmont Drive in San Pedro, near the Port of Los Angeles, turning the area into the nation’s largest rooftop PV plant to date.

The installation is expected to reach the capacity of 16.4 MW and produce enough energy to power approximately 5,000 homes in LA. It will also create up to US$400,000 in annual energy savings at Westmont facilities.

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) will buy most of the electricity produced by the rooftop plant and then distribute it to its customers. As estimated, the project will generate US$76 million in revenue from clean energy sold back to LADWP, with 85 to 90% of it going back to the building owner under the 20-year lease agreement.

According to the developer, the rooftop PV project on Westmont Drive will also become the nation’s largest solar project developed under the feed-in tariff (FiT) scheme. Since the launch of the Los Angeles FiT program in 2013, 23 projects have been completed, generating a total of 14 MW of renewable energy.

“The FiT program is a win for all parties and interests – it creates valuable jobs and compensates business owners while providing a huge environmental win of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, combating the ‘heat island’ effect, and moving Los Angeles closer to its clean power generation goals,” said PermaCity CEO Jonathan Port.

When fully implemented, the 150 MW FiT pilot program will have attracted US$500 million in direct private investment, according to a new report released on Friday by the Los Angeles Business Council institute (LABCi).

According to LABC president Mary Leslie, who presented the new report at the Los Angeles Business Council’s Sustainability Summit on Friday, the new project at the Port of Los Angeles will be a model not just for creating clean energy but for bringing jobs to communities and profits for local business owners. As estimated, the project will create 500 new local jobs.