Utility-Scale Distributed Solar Blasts Off in California

by Susan Kraemer in Matter Network, January 25 2010

The California Public Utilities Commission has just voted unanimously to approve Southern California Edison’s plan to install scores of tiny (for a utility) 1 MW to 2 MW grid-connected systems scattered across the rooftops of commercial buildings throughout the utility’s Southern California service area - to eventually add up to a half gigawatt of distributed solar power.

SCE had already installed the first module of the many distributed power plants in 2008, without knowing if the long term 500 MW plan would be approved. With the approval this week the project ramps up; the SCE will now add another 50 MW each year in what will create a boom for local solar businesses.

The first mini-utility came online at the end of 2008, just 2.4 MW. The second was running in time to supply the power for summer’s air conditioning, and the third brought the total supply to 5 MW by Christmas. Now the SCE envisions adding 50 MW each year and will be looking for bids this summer.

Ultimately there will be 500 MW of solar scattered across Southern California rooftops supplying the good people of California with green, reliable energy that keeps the environment healthy and ensures a secure energy future.

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