Southern California Edison begins construction of massive solar panel project

Rosemead, CA, July 17, 2008 — Southern California Edison (SCE) began installing solar panels at the first of approximately 150 Southern California commercial rooftops that eventually will make up SCE’s two square mile solar generation project, on they say is the largest solar panel installation in the world.

During the next 45 days, SCE will attach 33,000 solar panels to a 600,000-square-foot commercial roof in Fontana, Calif., leased from ProLogis. When completed, this first installation will be capable of generating 2 million watts of power. The power supply will be fed directly into the nearest neighborhood distribution circuit. SCE expects to connect the first panels to its grid in early September, which will help meet peak summer power needs.

First Solar, developer of an advanced thin-film photovoltaic technology, was selected as the winning bidder in a competitive solicitation to supply the PV system for the first installation.

Subject to regulatory approval, during the next five years SCE plans to install 3.5 million of the photovoltaic panels or 250 megawatts of solar generating capacity. Decisions have not yet been made on other building sites or panel suppliers.

SCE asked the California Public Utilities Commission on March 27 for approval to commit a total of $875 million to the utility’s solar project, informing regulators the expected capacity cost per installed watt would be approximately $3.50, half the average current capacity cost of other photovoltaic installations. Subsequently, on May 8, SCE provided additional cost projections to regulators, telling them the utility forecasts an energy cost of approximately 20 cents per kilowatt-hour after adjusting for time of delivery.

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