LOS ANGELES — Mayor Eric Garcetti today joined the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) to celebrate the completion of a historic rooftop solar project that will generate enough renewable energy to power nearly 5,000 homes.
The 16.4 Megawatt (DC) Westmont Solar Energy Project in San Pedro will produce more than 28 million Kilowatt-hours of electricity every year, making it the most powerful rooftop solar project in the world.
“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,” said Mayor Garcetti. “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 project is part of Los Angeles’ rooftop solar Feed-in Tariff (FiT) program, the largest of its kind in America. The FiT program enables the owners of large buildings to install solar panels on their roofs, and sell the power they generate back to LADWP for distribution into the power grid.
“Our goal is to create a clean energy future for Los Angeles and solar is a big part of our strategy,” LADWP General Manager David H. Wright said. “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. 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.”
The Westmont project includes more than 50,000 solar panels, covering 50 acres of roof space. It ranks second in size only to the solar project at Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino — though Westmont’s highly efficient solar panels and unique roof design will enable it to surpass that project in total power generation.
The project advances several of the goals outlined in Mayor Garcetti’s Sustainable City pLAn, including the expansion of renewable energy use and eliminating the use of coal power.
The new solar project was developed by PermaCity Solar, together with building owner BlackRock and financial partners True Green Capital and GAF. Through a partnership with EmPower America, the country’s first Veteran Workforce Development Organization, the project trained 50 veterans in project management, roofing, and electrical skills. Through its program, EmPower has trained and employed more than 25,000 veterans in return for tax benefits.
“The way this project came together — its design, the installation and the financing — satisfies everybody,” said Jonathan Port, CEO of PermaCity Solar. “The workers get high pay, the owner gets a new roof, and the City gets the power. It’s nice when we can make all that happen.”
The Los Angeles Business Council (LABC) was also a critical partner on the project.
“California has led the way in demonstrating that climate change policy and economic growth aren’t mutually exclusive,” said Mary Leslie, LABC president. “With the Westmont opening, we are once again distinguishing ourselves as national leaders capitalizing on the economic promise the FiT program has to offer.”
To learn more about solar FiT projects in Los Angeles, visit www.ladwp.com/fit.