This is an excerpt from EERE Network News, a weekly electronic newsletter.

April 02, 2008

California Utility to Install 250 Megawatts of Solar Panels

Southern California Edison (SCE) launched a project on March 27 to install 250 megawatts of solar photovoltaic panels on commercial buildings over the next five years. The project is the nation's largest solar photovoltaic project, covering 2.33 square miles of rooftop at an estimated cost of $875 million. Although the utility has submitted the project to the California Public Utilities Commission for approval, it is already pressing ahead with projects in three quickly growing counties: Inland Empire, Riverside, and San Bernardino. SCE hopes to have the first solar projects in service by August and will set a marathon pace by installing solar projects at a rate of 1 megawatt per week. When complete, the project will produce enough power over the course of a year to meet the power needs of 162,000 average homes in Southern California. More importantly, it will help to relieve stresses on the power grid in some of the fastest-growing urban areas in the country. See the SCE press release.

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger lauded the project. "These are the kinds of big ideas we need to meet California's long-term energy and climate change goals," said the governor. "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." See the governor's press release.