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Solar Panels to Blanket Southern California's Commercial Roofs
FONTANA, California, March 27, 2008 (ENS) - The largest rooftop solar installation project ever proposed by a U.S. utility was announced today on the rooftop of ProLogis in Fontana by Southern California Edison officials joined by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

The project will place 250 megawatts of advanced photovoltaic generating technology on 65 million square feet of commercial rooftops in Southern California. ProLogis, the world's largest owner, manager and developer of distribution facilities, will lease the roof space to the utility.

"This project will turn two square miles of unused commercial rooftops into advanced solar generating stations," said John Bryson, Edison International chairman and chief executive. "We hope to have the first solar rooftops in service by August. The sunlight power will be available to meet our largest challenge - peak load demands on the hottest days."

The installations are expected to generate enough power to serve 162,000 average Southern California homes with electricity that produces no greenhouse gases, burns no fossil fuels and requires no new transmission lines.

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger joins utility and leasing executives to announce the solar project. (Photo courtesy Office of the Governor)

"These are the kinds of big ideas we need to meet California's long-term energy and climate change goals," 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."

Subject to approval by the California Public Utilities Commission, the solar installation project will help California meet its goal to generate 20 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2010.

Southern California Edison today asked the Public Utilities Commission for approval to install the solar cell technology over the next five years. The request estimates the total project cost will be $875 million, in today's dollars.

"The scale of this project is unprecedented," said Mike Peevey, California Public Utilities Commission president. "It clearly illustrates once again Edison's leadership position in the development of new renewable technology."

The utility plans to begin installation work immediately on commercial roofs in Southern California's Inland Empire, San Bernardino and Riverside counties, the nation's fastest growing urban region.

"These new solar stations, which we will be installing at a rate of one megawatt a week, will provide a new source of clean energy, directly in the fast-growing regions where we need it most," said Bryson.

In the initial phase, the utility will lease 607,000 square feet of roof space at the ProLogis' Kaiser Distribution Park in Fontana where today's announcement was made. 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.

The start-up phase will include five to 10 additional installations and is expected to be completed by the end of 2008. Then 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 magawatts - the largest U.S. facility of its kind. Each individual installation is expected to comprise one to two megawatts of power.

The project will help the state meet its greenhouse gas emissions targets under AB 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. This law requires that by 2020 the state's greenhouse gas emissions be reduced to 1990 levels, a roughly 25 percent reduction.

These goals are the same as those of the Governor's Million Solar Roofs Plan. The $2.9 billion incentive plan for homeowners and building owners who install solar electric systems is projected to lead to one million solar roofs in California by the year 2018.

The state also has launched the most aggressive energy efficiency program in the world. Over a three-year period, this program will eliminate the need to build three power plants, cutting energy costs for homes and businesses by $5 billion.

Governor Schwarzenegger has called for the state to reduce climate warming carbon emissions to 80 percent below 1990 levels by the year 2050.

Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2008. All rights reserved.



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