A major solar energy company has opened a new manufacturing facility in Chatsworth, California, to manufacture solar photovoltaic systems.
LOS ANGELES, California – Siemens Solar Industries is the leading international provider of PV cells and modules, and is the first manufacturer to qualify for a Los Angeles Department of Water & Power program that provides financial incentives for local production and use of solar systems to reduce electricity demand and encourage cleaner, alternative power sources. “With the arrival of an outstanding company like Siemens to a city already benefitting from the innovation and reliability of our LADWP, Los Angeles is poised to become the Solar Capital of the World,” says Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan. “There’s a growing appetite for new, cleaner power sources. It has never been easier, or more affordable, to plug into the sun.” “Once again, Los Angeles is a shining example of how world-class cities can encourage new business and promote the use of alternative resources that reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, which foul the air and pollute our environment,” he adds. “The decision by Siemens Solar to locate in the city of Los Angeles demonstrates that solar power has a real future in the production of clean, non-polluting energy,” says City Councilwoman Ruth Galanter, chair of the Energy committee. The new facility will employ 50 people and produce PV panels for the residential and commercial market. The facility will include a showroom and a training center to help teach electricians how to install the equipment. Siemens will benefit from an incentive program in which LADWP customers can lower the cost of an installed system by $3 per watt for installed solar power systems manufactured outside the city, and $5 for those manufactured inside the city. The maximum incentive payment for a residential site is $50,000 and $1 million for a commercial site. “Los Angeles benefits by making available cleaner power that can be used in the city or sold as surplus,” says Kenneth Lombard, president of the Board of Water & Power. “What’s more, solar is a technology that is here and now, and any investment that jump-starts the market for this safe, clean energy source in L.A. is money well spent to ensure a sustainable energy future.” The Department’s Solar Rooftop Incentive Program and Siemens’ arrival will expand the solar industry at a time of volatility in the California and national energy markets and stimulate new, more affordable products for customers, he adds. “The LADWP bonus incentive program that allows us to more competitively market our ready-to-install solar systems in Los Angeles was key in our decision to come to the city of Los Angeles, says Chester Farris, executive vice president and COO of Siemens Solar. “In a sense, we’re planting a seed that could give rise to a new, vibrant market for our solar technologies that can provide supplemental power, from single-family homes to large businesses.” “We are very pleased with the leadership and vision of the city of Los Angeles and the LADWP,” he adds. “Their commitment to bring clean, renewable energy sources like solar electric to L.A. is an example for the entire nation.” The incentive program complements LADWP’s Green Power for Green LA initiatives and holds the potential of creating 2 megawatts of solar energy, or enough to power 600 homes annually. “The net result is win-win for manufacturers and users of clean solar power in Los Angeles,” adds the utility’s Angelina Galiteva. The increased use of solar photovoltaic in Los Angeles is cited In LADWP’s 2000 Integrated Resources Plan for reduced emissions and electricity demand. Industry experts predict the $1.5 billion solar electric market will double by 2005 and again in 2010. LADWP has a goal of 100,000 solar rooftops by 2010, and the city’s year-round sunshine, air-quality issues and growing demand for electricity makes Los Angeles a solid proving ground for PV technology that can be integrated to the transmission grid at customer locations without taxing the existing infrastructure. “Visibility and volume are key to actually demonstrating the viability of PV technology,” adds Galiteva. “By driving the costs down and recognizing the benefit of the investment in monthly energy savings for the long term, solar should be an attractive option for all LADWP customers.” LADWP serves 3.8 million people in Los Angeles. Siemens Solar comprises Siemens Solar GmbH in Munich, Germany, a joint venture of Siemens AG and E.ON Energie AG, Siemens Solar Industries L.P. in Camarillo, California, and two joint ventures: Siemens Showa Solar Ltd. in Singapore and Showa Solar Energy KK in Tokyo. Siemens Solar has supplied 200 MW of solar throughout the world. A 2 kW solar system can supply an average home with 20 to 60 percent of its electricity. With an incentive, the system would cost $8,000 and would avoid the need to burn 3.7 tons of coal to produce the same amount of electricity, thereby displacing the emission of 10,000 pounds of greenhouse gases.