A specialized production line to make solar photovoltaic roof tiles has been set up, with an initial capacity of 6 megawatt for the growing California market.CHATSWORTH, California (US) 2002-02-11[SolarAccess.com] Siemens Solar Industries LP and PowerLight Corp have formed a strategic alliance to manufacture PowerLight’s PowerGuard® PV roof tiles to help California, and especially the City of Los Angeles, meet increasing demand for clean energy with solar power. Under the agreement, Siemens Solar and PowerLight have established the specialized production line at a Siemens module manufacturing facility in Chatsworth. It can manufacture up to 6 MW and can be expanded to 20 MW of solar roof tiles per year, primarily for use in commercial, industrial and government facilities in L.A. The roof tiles are a lightweight solar PV roofing tile assembly, optimized for flat and low-sloped roofs and using Siemens’ single crystalline cells. Over a 30-year design life, the PowerGuard PV tiles will reduce utility costs and provide thermal insulation while extending the lifetime of the roof through protection from damaging effects of weather and UV radiation, say company officials. Los Angeles businesses and homeowners are installing Siemens Solar ‘earthsafe(tm)!= solar systems at reduced rates, due to the Solar Incentive program offered by the Department of Water & Power under its Green LA Program. LADWP offers residential and commercial customers a rebate of US$6 per watt for solar electric systems manufactured within Los Angeles. “We’re thrilled that Siemens Solar and PowerLight have expanded their manufacturing capabilities in Los Angeles,” says Angelina Galiteva of LADWP. “It’s always been a key goal of our Green LA Program, and it’s exciting to see the addition of PowerLight to the Siemens module fabrication.” The U.S. Postal Service has already ordered the PV roof tiles for a processing center in Marina del Ray. According to USPS’s Ray Levinson, the PowerLight panel is different from other solar manufacturers because it does not require drilling into a roof as it lays flat atop plastic foam. He says these were important characteristics for the Postal Service because, every time a panel has been installed on a roof, major leaks have formed. While demand for solar panels increases, so does the need for contractors to install them. Galiteva says LADWP is providing workshops for contractors interested in learning how to install PV panels and, to date, it has trained 170 contractors at nine workshops. PowerLight does not quote the cost of its PV roof tiles, but a spokesperson says customers receive an average rate of return of 15 percent over the product’s 25-year warranty. LADWP, the largest municipally owned utility in the U.S., serves a population of 3.8 million that includes 1.4 million electricity and 650,000 water customers in a 465 square mile area. It has a goal to encourage the installation of 100,000 solar systems by 2010, and to install 2.5 MW of solar power each year for the next four years.