Southern California Edison - ProLogis Agreement to Advance Grid Integration of Renewable Generation
May 17, 2010 - Edison International - renewablesbiz.com
Southern California Edison (SCE) and ProLogis today announced they have reached agreement to place up to 40 percent of SCE’s massive 250 megawatt solar panel project on ProLogis distribution warehouse roofs in the Inland Empire region of Southern California. The agreement will make available to the utility as much as 15 million-square-feet of roof space for the installation of more than a half-million advanced solar panels. Panel installation will begin this year on the first ProLogis roofs included in the agreement – four structures in the Ontario Airport complex and a fifth in the Redlands Distribution Center. “Our first installation in this large solar power project was a ProLogis building in Fontana, Calif. that now provides 2 million watts of clean energy to our grid,” said SCE President John Fielder. “We are pleased to expand this relationship with a company that shares our vision for converting otherwise unused urban rooftop real estate into solar power stations.” The companies also announced that ProLogis will serve as construction manager for the installation of panels on the leased roofs. “Our partnership with SCE works well for both parties – we have flat, available roof space and local construction management expertise in place to support the growth of SCE’s renewable energy program,” said Drew Torbin, vice president of renewable energy for ProLogis. “With approximately 45 million square feet in SCE’s service area, this installation is one part of a larger, multi-phase project.” SCE’s solar stations are connected directly to the utility’s neighborhood grid sending the solar power to all customers. This aspect of the project is expected to lead to significant smart grid enhancements to SCE’s neighborhood distribution circuitry, advances the utility plans to share with the utility industry. Pushing the Technology Envelope for Renewable Power Delivery The ProLogis rooftops covered by the agreement announced today are grouped in several communities. Connecting multiple large panel arrays to local distribution circuits will require design changes in grid engineering. U.S. distribution circuits were designed to carry power from neighborhood substations to customers using one-way voltage stability controls placed at key points along the route. Connecting a large solar generating station to the middle of such circuits means engineers must redesign the circuitry to enable features such as power flowing from the solar sites in both directions and dynamic circuit voltage stability. SCE is collaborating with the industry to develop new circuit designs and smart grid technologies that will make these grid advances a reality. “SCE grid engineers are no strangers to creating a smarter, greener grid,” said James Kelly, SCE senior vice president, Transmission and Distribution. “We have engineered a transmission system that delivers almost 13 billion kilowatt-hours of largely variable renewable generation to our customers each year, more than any U.S. utility, while maintaining a reliable power supply.” The start of installation work on ProLogis roofs is subject to final permitting, other approvals and engineering studies, which will determine distribution circuit readiness. SCE Solar Project Benefits It will help California meet its million solar roofs goal at a fraction of the cost of typical photovoltaic installations and without drawing funds from the California Solar Initiative. In the process, it hopefully will reduce the cost of solar energy for all customers who wish to use it. The project will provide new generation sources to areas where customer demand is expected to rise. It will create as many as 1,200 new green jobs in Southern California in the solar industry. The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, one of SCE’s project partners, is supporting the plan through the expansion of its solar installation apprentice training program. About Southern California Edison An Edison International (NYSE:EIX) company, Southern California Edison is one of the nation’s largest electric utilities, serving a population of nearly 14 million via 4.9 million customer accounts in a 50,000-square-mile service area within Central, Coastal and Southern California.