DER, Solar

Solar-Powered Buildings Run on California Sun

Two three-story buildings are the first office buildings in Sherman Oaks to get their electricity from the sun. The adjoining buildings located on busy Ventura Boulevard total 100,000 square feet and are occupied by USI Insurance and Financial Services, International Parking Design, Cort Business Furniture, and other tenants.

Sherman Oaks, California – August 18, 2003 [] “The solar electric systems are already offsetting electric consumption and saving money, ” said building owner, Scott Weiss. “Using solar power is part of our commitment to using energy management practices that reduce energy consumption and control costs. The rebates and tax breaks are strong incentives that provide a return on investment for improving the environment.” Over 12,700 square feet of roof-mounted solar panels convert sunlight into 105 kW of electricity, enough to power several homes. The solar photovoltaic (PV) cells used on the buildings that convert sunlight directly into electricity have no moving parts and no emissions. “The panels operate silently and with no moving parts and produce enough electricity to actually spin the electric meters backwards on weekends,” said building owner, Wil Von Der Ahe. “The solar power systems make economic sense. They add value to the properties and give a good return on investment.” The solar power systems were designed and installed by Solar Electrical Systems, a solar contractor of Westlake Village, California. Shell Solar, of Chatsworth, California, manufactured the solar panels. Rebates from the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power and Southern California Gas Company helped offset the installation cost. “PV is becoming increasingly popular as business people learn about the return on investment,” said Greg Johnson, a solar contractor. “We just completed a 10,000 square feet installation on a business in South-Central L.A. and currently installing a similar system on the historic Helms Bakery Building in West L.A.” In 1998, California became the first state to offer solar incentives. Today, over 14,000 businesses and homeowners have installed solar power systems. State incentives have reduced the cost of solar electric systems by 50 percent. Federal solar tax incentives that have been available since 1992 cut costs further.