LOS ANGELES: A just-completed rooftop solar project will power nearly 5,000 homes in southern California, making it the most powerful of its kind in the world, officials said on Monday (Tuesday in Manila).
“We are putting sustainability at the center of everything we do in Los Angeles – and that means investing boldly to expand the use of local solar and renewable energy,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said.
The 16.4 megawatt (DC) Westmont Solar Energy Project in San Pedro, about 40 kilometers south of Los Angeles, will produce more than 28 million kilowatt-hours of electricity every year.
The project advances many of the goals outlined in the LA mayor’s sustainable city plan, including the expansion of renewable energy use.
According to the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability, the city is facing a “new normal” of challenges to the environment, economy and equity, and the plan is a roadmap for Los Angeles to be environmentally healthy, economically prosperous, and equitable in opportunity for all—now and over the next 20 years.
“While Washington buries its head in the sand, we are carrying the fight against climate change forward in our city, and the Westmont Solar Energy Project is strong evidence of our commitment to a sustainable future,” the mayor said.
The Westmont project’s 50,000 solar panels cover 50 acres of roof space, ranking second in size only to the solar project at Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, California, though officials said it would surpass Apple in total power generation.
According to a press release, the project is part of Los Angeles’ rooftop solar Feed-in Tariff (FiT) program, the largest of its kind in the United States, which allows the owners of large buildings to install solar panels on their roofs, and sell the power they generate back to Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) for distribution into the power grid.
“Along with helping spur the clean energy economy in Los Angeles and meeting renewable energy goals, the expansion of local solar builds more resiliency and reliability into the power grid,” LADWP General Manager David Wright said. “Local solar systems are like mini power plants that generate power right where it is being used, saving on transmission costs and taking advantage of the city’s abundant sunshine to help meet electrical demand.”
Early this month, Garcetti and Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia announced zero emissions goals for San Pedro Bay Ports. They also reaffirmed their commitment to adopting the Paris Climate Agreement goals in their cities.
As the chairman and co-founder of the “Climate Mayors”, a bipartisan group formed in 2014, Garcetti rallied other Climate Mayors to the cause of upholding the goals of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement on Saturday at the 85th annual US Conference of Mayors in Miami Beach, Florida.