L.A.’s Massive 50-Acre Shared Solar Rooftop Project Will Power 5k Homes

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Los Angeles gets 284 sunny days a year on average, and to take advantage of its sunny weather the city is now home to one of the largest rooftop solar installations ever built.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti conducted a tour of the Westmont Solar Rooftop project in San Pedro on Monday. The recently completed 2 million square foot set of solar panels will generate an estimated 16.4 megawatts of power, or enough power for around 5,000 homes.

The massive solar installation was developed by PermaCity, a solar energy firm who developed the project as part of the Department of Water and Power’s “Feed-in Tariff” program. The Tariff program allows owners of solar installations to sell energy gathered from them to the power company. The program was conceived as a way to assist DWP in meeting a state mandate requiring electricity providers to meet one-third of their power from renewable energy sources by 2020.

L.A.s Massive 50 Acre Shared Solar Rooftop Project Will Power 5k Homes

The San Pedro project is the largest of all the 41 tariff projects completed so far, including a 5.1-megawatt project installed back in 2015 at the headquarters of Forever 21 in Lincoln Heights. Yet another massive solar project in being constructed now for the US Postal Service processing center in South LA. When that project is finished it will generate around 11 megawatts of power, with 10 megawatts being sold to DWP and the remainder powering the postal facility.

The solar installation is set up across multiple rooftops at the Westmont Distribution Center, which is close to the 110 Freeway. The solar installation has over 50,000 photovoltaic panels that will produce over 565 million kilowatt hours over the next 20 years of operation. The panels are bi-facial, meaning they can collect sunlight reflected off of the roof’s surface in addition to the direct sunlight they absorb, making them about 45% more efficient than uni-facial panels. PermaCity estimates the carbon emissions offset by the project will be equivalent to the emissions of 6,000 cars.

The solar installation is one of the largest in the country, being only slightly smaller than an installation at Apple’s campus in Cupertino.