Seven new solar power plants capable of providing 12.5 MW of electricity are now online for Southern California Edison customers, the utility announced.

The solar photovoltaic installations, in Ontario and Redlands, Calif., bring to 10 the number of SCE neighborhood solar stations.

“Current market indicators reveal that solar photovoltaic power is now substantially less expensive for our customers than when we launched this project,” said Mark Nelson, SCE director of generation planning and strategy..

The Ontario installations involved four solar stations on 1.8 million square feet of leased warehouse roofs owned by ProLogis. The 32,950 solar photovoltaic panels SCE has installed in Ontario are capable of generating 5.5 MW (AC) of power.

In Redlands SCE has built three installations, with 34,600 panels spread over 1.5 million square feet of ProLogis warehouse roofs. The panels can generate 7 MW (AC) of power.

At the direction of the state utilities commission, SCE expanded its solar photovoltaic program by offering long-term power purchase agreements to independent producers willing to build neighborhood plants. So far, the utility has awarded 29 contracts, which will yield about 43 MW (AC) of new solar photovoltaic power.

In addition, SCE has seen an increase in the number of cost-effective solar photovoltaic energy bids to provide renewable energy to the utility. The utility said the winning bids show a "significant reduction in the cost of solar photovoltaic." In November, SCE signed 20 purchase agreements with the potential to produce 239 MW (AC) of power.

One of SCE’s objectives is to study the impact on local grid reliability, so that these distributed energy resources can be interconnected safely. Lessons learned during deployment of SCE’s solar photovoltaic project will be shared with other utilities and the solar industry to foster similar efforts. 

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