The Port of Los Angeles will begin generating one megawatt of electricity via 71,500 square feet of solar panels on its World Cruise Center rooftop by the end of 2009. A $9m construction contract was recently approved by the Board of Harbor Commissioners for this first phase of a multi-year solar power generation initiative. Three additional phases are expected to occur in within five years, ultimately generating 10 megawatts of power through 1.16 million square feet of solar panels.
This initial project is expected to generate more than 100 jobs at the Port during construction, which is expected to be completed in late 2009. City officials estimate that the rapidly growing solar industry creates 200 to 400 jobs in research, development, manufacturing and installation for every 10 megawatts of solar power generated annually.
“We are harnessing our greatest resource to power our greatest economic engine,” said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. “This project will create good, green-collar jobs and stimulate the growth of a new, green economy powered by clean technology.”
“As we continue to plug more ships into electric power and test electric applications of drayage trucks, hostlers and other cargo-handling assets, our air will be cleaner but our electricity consumption will grow,” added Port Executive Director Geraldine Knatz, Ph.D. “This initiative will help offset that power consumption, ultimately providing a power supply that is equivalent to the electricity consumption of roughly 2,500 homes.”
The solar power initiative at the nation’s largest container port is part of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s Solar LA Program, the largest solar power project undertaken by any single city in the world. The Solar LA Project will ultimately create a 1.3 gigawatt solar power network of residential, commercial and municipally-owned solar systems that will lower Los Angeles’s dependence on greenhouse gas emitting fossil fuels. In addition, future phases of the Port’s solar project will contribute toward the Mayor’s Green Initiative to use 20 percent renewable energy by 2010 and 35 percent by 2020.
The Port has been working closely with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) to integrate future phases of LADWP’s solar power generation initiative. LADWP will also be assisting the Port with an expected $3.5m up-front cash incentive as part of this first phase, the one megawatt project. Energy generated at the Port of Los Angeles will effectively flow back for use at Port facilities. Cupertino Electric of San Jose, Calif., was awarded the contract for this first phase construction.