Southern California Edison Launches
Nation's Largest Solar Panel Installation
Mar 27, 2008 - Business Wire
Southern California Edison (SCE) today
launched the nation's largest solar cell installation,
a project that will place 250 megawatts of advanced
photovoltaic generating technology on 65 million square
feet of roofs of Southern California commercial buildings
- enough power to serve approximately 162,000 homes.
"These are the kinds of big ideas we
need to meet California's long-term energy and climate
change goals," said Governor Schwarzenegger. "I urge
others to follow in their footsteps. 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."
"This project will turn two square
miles of unused commercial rooftops into advanced
solar generating stations," said John E. Bryson, Edison
International chairman and CEO. "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."
SCE's renewable energy project was prompted
by recent advances in solar technology that reduce
the cost of installed photovoltaic generation. When
combined with the size of SCE's investment, the resulting
costs per unit are projected to be half that of common
photovoltaic installations in California.
"The scale of this project is unprecedented,"
said Mike Peevey, California Public Utilities Commission
(CPUC) president. "It clearly illustrates once again
Edison's leadership position in the development of
new renewable technology."
SCE today asked the CPUC for approval
to install the solar cell technology during the next
five years. The request estimates the total project
cost will be $875 million (in today's dollars).
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,"
SCE sees numerous customer benefits
from its new solar program, among them locating the
new generation in areas of growing customer demand.
And the clusters of solar modules SCE plans to install
will be connected directly to the nearest neighborhood
circuit, eliminating the need to build new transmission
lines to bring the power to customers. Additionally,
solar units produce the most power when customer usage
is at its highest.
SCE believes its commercial solar roofs
program will boost several California environmental
initiatives, especially the Million Solar Roofs program
that provides incentives to encourage Californians
to install solar projects by 2017. SCE's solar program
supports the state's Global Warming Solutions Act
requiring the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions
to 1990 levels by 2020, as well as California's renewable
portfolio standard requiring that 20 percent of the
state's electricity be generated with renewable energy
How It Works
Solar cells are made of materials that
convert sunlight directly into electricity through
a chemical process.
-- A thin semiconductor wafer is treated
to form an electric field - positive on one side and
negative on the other side.
-- When light strikes the cell, electrons
are knocked loose from the atoms of the material creating
-- Wires are attached to the positive
and negative sides to carry the electricity from the
cell to the device to be powered.
An Edison International (NYSE:EIX) company,
Southern California Edison is the largest electric
utility in California, serving a population of more
than 13 million via 4.8 million customer accounts
in a 50,000-square-mile service area within central,
coastal and Southern California.
Video and high-resolution photos available
SOURCE: Southern California Edison