Downtown L.A. Clothing Company Goes Solar

This week has been the chosen one for environmentally minded apparel companies to announce major commitments to solar energy. Two major projects were announced in Southern California.

Earlier this week Patagonia installed a 66 kW Sharp Solar PV carport and now American Apparel has begun installing a 146 kW solar electric system on the roof of its downtown Los Angeles factory. The system is expected to cut the company’s electric bill by at least 20% this year, and will provide a hedge against the rapidly rising electricity prices in the future. Los Angeles-based Permacity Solar is installing the 465 Schott 315-watt ASE PV Modules and a SatCon 135 inverter on American Apparel’s seven-story vintage 1935 building. Permacity has installed some of Southern California’s largest solar electric arrays, including systems powering Dryer’s Ice Cream, Otis Spudmeyer Cookies, Etney Shoes, and Miller’s Honey. American Apparel, a vertically integrated company and one of the fastest growing consumer apparel brands in the U.S., knits, cuts, sews, photographs, markets, distributes, designs and sells its clothing from this 800,000 sq. ft. facility. American Apparel is the largest apparel manufacturer in the U.S., employing more than 3,000 people at its downtown Los Angeles factory at a time when pressure for textile manufacturing from abroad is stronger than ever. “We are continuously expanding on environmental initiatives, and applying advancements in materials and processes that have a positive impact on our community, leading the way to a cleaner L.A.,” said Roian Atwood, American Apparel’s Director of Environmental Programs. American Apparel is one of the first companies in the U.S. to take advantage of the new 30% Federal Tax Credit for solar power, which took effect January 1, 2006. It also will benefit from a rate-payer-funded, state-mandated rebate from the Southern California Gas Company. “We are proud that American Apparel will be making solar-powered T-shirts into the 22nd century, right here in downtown LA,” said Jonathan Port, Permacity’s CEO.

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