Commercial Scale Solar Has Come To LA’s Eastside

By Roy L Hales

Screen-shot-2014-03-18-at-3.43.47-PM1Since the Clean LA program was launched in 2013, fourteen projects, with a total of 7.1 MW of rooftop solar capacity, have been connected to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s grid. More than 2,000 people have been employed and an estimated 2.7 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions have been displaced from the environment. There are another 28 projects, with 11.25 MW of capacity, under construction. The most recent addition occurred yesterday when Los Angeles City Councilmember José Huizar ‘flipped the switch’ on a 300 kilowatt installation on the Angelus Grand commercial plaza in Boyle Heights. Commercial scale solar has come to LA’s eastside.

A Solar Equity Hotspot

Boyle Heights Solar FiT (7.29.15): Councilmember Huizar commemorates the installation of Boyle Heights’ first rooftop solar feed-in tariff project.
Councilmember Huizar –Boyle Heights Solar FiT (7.29.15): Councilmember Huizar commemorates the installation of Boyle Heights’ first rooftop solar feed-in tariff project – Photo Courtesy of Tyler Newman; www.palipictures.com.

This is a “solar equity hotspot”: which USC and UCLA describe as “a neighborhood with abundant rooftops and a large low-income population in need of job growth and economic investment.”

More than 40% of Clean LA’s projects are in solar equity hotspots. In many cases developers hired local workers, or forged partnerships with local training programs. One example is the Homeboy Industries’ Solar Panel Training and Installation program, at the East Los Angeles Skills Center public vocational school.

“I am excited to see a local business step up and join the CLEAN LA Solar movement in Boyle Heights,” said L.A. City Councilmember José Huizar, at the installation’s press conference. “I hope it inspires others in Council District 14 and throughout the City of Los Angeles to apply to this valuable, environmentally friendly program, which creates jobs and clean, renewable energy while reducing pollution.”

“We couldn’t be happier to be part of this program. I encourage other building owners to review the database and see what kind of rooftop solar potential their buildings may have,” said Jacob Levy, whose company Levy Affiliated Holdings owns the 103,000-square foot property.

“The combination of plentiful rooftop space and strong programs like the Department’s FiT program, along with the support of LABC, make this a very attractive area for us,” said Edge3 Solar’s founder Brad Goode.

A Goal of 1,500 Megawatts

Ceremonial Switch - Boyle Heights Solar FiT (7.29.15): Celebrating the installation of the first solar FiT project on the eastside. From left to right: Mike Webster, Interim Director of Power Systems – Engineering and Technical Services for LADWP; Councilmember José Huizar; Jacob Levy of building owner Levy Affiliated; Christian Wentzel, Principal and Co-Founder of Solar Provider Group LLC; Mary Leslie, President of the Los Angeles Business Council.
Ceremonial Switch – Boyle Heights Solar FiT (7.29.15): Celebrating the installation of the first solar FiT project on the eastside. From left to right: Mike Webster, Interim Director of Power Systems – Engineering and Technical Services for LADWP; Councilmember José Huizar; Jacob Levy of building owner Levy Affiliated; Christian Wentzel, Principal and Co-Founder of Solar Provider Group LLC; Mary Leslie, President of the Los Angeles Business Council.

In addition to the the Angelus Grand commercial plaza, Edge3 is  installing another megawatt of capacity under LA’s  FiT program and has plans for further development.

Mayor Eric Garcetti set a goal of 1,500 megawatts by 2025. USC and UCLA researchers estimate this will cut greenhouse gas emissions by more than 20 million metric tons and create more than 36,000 new job years.

The Los Angeles Business Council  set up a website that lists 7,000 properties that would benefit from rooftop solar development.

“Each new installation brings us one step closer to meeting Mayor Garcetti’s clean energy goals and creating a sustainable, thriving Los Angeles. Our clean energy efforts are turning out to be a critically important economic development tool for Los Angeles, and we’re just getting started.” said Mary Leslie, President of the Los Angeles Business Council.

Top Photo Credit: Boyle Heights Solar FiT (7.29.15): The new solar array on the Angelus Grand commercial plaza in Boyle Heights will provide 300 kilowatts of clean, renewable energy to customers of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (DWP) – Photo Courtesy of Tyler Newman; www.palipictures.com

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