Environment & Science

State regulators approve Edison's massive solar program

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The California Public Utilities Commission has approved a plan by Southern California Edison to install solar panels on hundreds of commercial buildings. KPCC’s Molly Peterson reports.

Edison says the rooftop panels will generate 250 megawatts of power – that’s enough for about 160,000 homes. The first installation, on a warehouse in Fontana, went in last fall and is the largest array of photovoltaic solar panels in the state.

The Public Utilities Commission approved the program despite opposition from the state’s independent ratepayer advocate, who argued that solar panels scattered on roofs weren’t the most economical way to deliver renewable energy.

But Edison argued large groups of panels on commercial buildings are cheaper than small groups on houses. It also get tax credits for renewable projects like this one. The company will purchase another 250 megawatts of power through agreements with independent solar developers.