Southern California Edison (SCE), the largest electric utility in California, plans to place 250MW of photovoltaic generators on 65 million square feet of roofs of Southern California commercial buildings – enough power to serve approximately 162,000 homes.
‘This project will turn two square miles of commercial rooftops into 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 power will be available to meet our largest challenge – peak load demands on the hottest days.’
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 its customers.
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. Notwithstanding that fact, the estimated cost of the project is estimated to be $875m.
The utility plans to begin installation work immediately on commercial roofs in Southern California’s Inland Empire, San Bernardino and Riverside counties, the US’s fastest growing urban region.
Southern California Edison itself serves a population of more than 13 million in a 50,000-square-mile service area.