PermaCity installs 2.6-MW commercial rooftop solar array in Sun Valley

Los Angeles City Councilmember Nury Martinez flipped the switch on the largest rooftop solar interconnection in Sun Valley on Feb. 28.

The installation is the latest building to take advantage of the CLEAN LA Solar program — also known as the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s (LADWP) Feed-in Tariff (FiT) program — which allows commercial property owners in L.A. to take advantage of thousands of acres of underutilized rooftop space by generating energy through solar panels and selling it to the LADWP at a competitive fixed rate. The result is zero-carbon, renewable energy that also supports jobs and fuels private investment.

“This interconnection represents what a green energy economy and a Green New Deal can be,” said Los Angeles City Councilwoman Nury Martinez, who spoke at a community event celebrating the installation. “The Feed-in Tariff program brings that spirit to Sun Valley, bolstering the local economy, creating good paying jobs, and improving the quality of life for area residents.”

Members of community groups Pacoima Beautiful and L.A. Conservation Corps also attended to support the opening.

The 2.6-MW Sun Valley project was developed and installed by PermaCity Construction Corp with subcontractor PermaCitySkyBridge and Stronghold Engineering. Project construction led to 40 local jobs, many of which went to veterans and included training on solar installation procedures.

“We are delighted our commitment to in-basin jobs for veterans and low-income households has found such a welcome home in the FiT program and the generous support of local Unions,” says PermaCity CEO Jonathan Port, who also serves on the Los Angeles Work Investment Board (WiB).

The building developer and owner, Xebec, has also been a long-time proponent of developing environmentally friendly and energy efficient industrial real estate.

“We began investigating ways to install solar on various buildings in our development pipeline with PermaCity several years ago,” said Randy Kendrick, founder and CEO of Xebec. “Today, we are proud to provide the foundation for one of the largest recent solar installations in L.A. County, and are already looking at bringing two more projects into the FiT program.”

Also instrumental in the installation of the Sun Valley FiT and other renewable energy generation programs in the L.A. area is the Los Angeles Business Council (LABC).

“For years, the LABC has advocated for local solar programs that benefit property owners, solar developers and the community at-large by creating a pipeline of good local jobs while also reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” said Mary Leslie, LABC president. “We thank the LADWP for their leadership in helping grow the FiT into the largest rooftop solar program in the country.”

Since the beginning, LADWP has championed the Feed-in Tariff program, making institutional changes and setting ambitious goals within the organization to make the program the success it is today.

“Los Angeles was named the No. 1 Solar City in America for 2017 and we’re very pleased to make this latest FiT project possible. It’s projects like this that help make L.A. a national leader in clean energy,” said Martin L. Adams, LADWP’s chief operating officer. “LADWP continues to improve and streamline our solar programs to make them easily accessible to all of our customers.”

This interconnection is also the first in the area to benefit from a place-based initiative funded by Wells Fargo to attract clean energy investments to the Northeast Valley. Recipients of the $500,000 Wells Fargo grant include the Los Angeles Business Council Institute (LABCi) as the team lead, Pacoima Beautiful, GRID Alternatives, Trust for Public Land and L.A. Conservation Corps.

Wells Fargo’s grant will support the group’s plan to create 150 new local jobs and generate at least $5 million in new private investment through the installation of 5 MW of rooftop solar.

These new solar initiatives address a serious need in Sun Valley, where there are higher unemployment rates and lower than average incomes than other areas within the City of L.A. Negative health outcomes from pollution exposure, such as acute respiratory and circulatory illness, are exacerbated in the Northeast Valley, with the area scoring in the bottom 25% of clean air in the state, and a childhood asthma prevalence 20% higher than the state average.

The Sun Valley solar installation celebration included community members, local property owners, solar providers and clean energy advocates interested in the benefits of the solar FiT program for Sun Valley. Martin Adams from LADWP, Jonathan Port of PermaCity, Henry Pfirrmann from building owner Xebec and Robin Choi from Wells Fargo made remarks at the community celebration.

News item from the Los Angeles Business Council Institute

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