LADWP Completes Second Utility-Built Solar Array

LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) has begun generating 8.5 megawatts (MW) of sustainable sun power from a new utility-built large solar array co-located with LADWP’s Pine Tree Wind Farm in the Tehachapi Mountains.

LADWP crews flicked the switch to commission the Pine Tree Solar Project on March 15, 2013. The solar array is expected to produce an average of 18 gigawatt-hours (GWh) per year over 25 years—enough to serve an average of 3,200 homes each year. That amount of solar power will avoid about 11,000 metric tons of CO2 emissions, equivalent to removing about 2,100 cars from the road each year.

“The Pine Tree Solar Power Project is a significant component of LADWP’s power supply transformation, as we move away from the use of coal power by 2025 and increase renewable energy to 33% of our power supply by 2020,” said Aram Benyamin, Senior Assistant General Manager-Power. In the next 15 years, LADWP will replace about 70% of its existing power generation with renewables, energy efficiency, and more efficient natural gas generators.

LADWP forces began work on the Pine Tree Solar Project almost immediately after celebrating the completion of the 10 MW Adelanto Solar Power Project in July 2012. The Adelanto project is co-located with the LADWP Adelanto Switching Station in Adelanto, Calif.

Benyamin said both projects are located near existing LADWP assets, such as land, transmission lines and power infrastructure. “By maximizing assets we already own, we were able to realize cost savings and complete these solar projects faster than if we had built new renewable projects elsewhere,” he said.
The Mojave Desert-Tehachapi Mountains area has become a renewable hub for LADWP. In the next few years, LADWP will build a new 50 MW utility-scale solar project on the 2,500-acre Beacon Solar Property. Additionally, an RFP for development of 200 MW of solar on that property is expected to be issued in May and bundled with a 50 MW local solar component of the 150 MW Feed-in Tariff (FiT) program.

LADWP crews were able to transfer cost- and time-saving installation procedures that were developed during the Adelanto solar construction. During the peak construction, over 150 LADWP personnel worked on building the Pine Tree Solar Project.

Pine Tree Solar Power Project – Quick Facts

  • Installation features 35,160 ground-mounted solar modules, 7,405 steel posts and 17 inverters converting DC to AC power
  • Power capacity: 8.5 MW (AC power); 9.75 MW (DC power)
  • First year output: 19.25 gigawatt-hours or 460 gigawatt-hours (GWh) over 25 years; enough to serve average of 3,000 homes each year.
  • Built on 34 acres of land, co-located at the existing Pine Tree Wind Farm in the Tehachapi Mountains
  • Construction began in April 2012.
  • In-service March 2013.

Funding: $48 million, financed through the Federal Qualified Energy Conservation Bond program, under the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act. These QECBs were awarded to LADWP by the California State Treasurer’s Office. This special financing provides an estimated savings of $12 million to our customers over the life of the bonds.