Los Angeles Metro Solar Ambitions

Ask and you shall receive!  

metro_120-2Here in our own backyard, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, may have just activated a 1.2-MW (DC)/1-MW (AC) solar power system–said to be the largest PV installation of any U.S. transit facility and the biggest array to date within the City of Angels’ limits.

The public agency known as Metro has even grander solar ambitions. After providing more details about Metro’s earlier solar installations and the new multirooftop PV system designed and built by Chevron Energy Solutions (CES) near downtown L.A., Tim Lindholm, the agency’s director of capital projects,  hopes to put out a request fmetro_la_rooftop1or proposal in a few months to find a design/integration/construction private partner to start building out yet another 2.3 MW or so of PV power at various Metro locations next year.

Although the ribbon cutting on the new PV installation took place in May, Lindholm said the arrays were actually turned on in early April.

Deployed on several hundred thousand square feet across most of the Metro Support Services Center’s rooftops, the fixed, free-standing, nonpenetrating system consists of 6720SolarWorld SW 175 monocrystalline-silicon modules (which were manufactured at the company’s Camarillo, CA, panel factory, something that makes Lindholm “really happy”), four Satcon inverters (one 500 KW, two 225 KW, and one 100 KW), and SunLink racking (except for one roof), according to details provided by Chevron’s Ram Ambatipudi via email.

The system, which is expected to generate 1,450,000 KW-hr of solar-spawned electricity, is monitored by CES’s own proprietary Utility Vision system.

Lindholm said it took about a year from issuing the “notice to proceed” to completing the project, with panels beginning to go up on the rooftops by May 2008. Most of the roof surfaces were fairly routine to prep for the installation, with the exception of one of the oldest (and biggest) structures, which was substandard (“ramshackle” was Lindholm’s term) and had to be completely reroofed before any solar could be put on it.

Although the solar arrays are certainly “the cherry on top,” the Metro director notes that even more substantial energy efficiencies were achieved by redesigning the air compression loop, replacing old lightbulbs, and generally putting the buildings through total retrofits.

“The solar panels are the piece of the project that gets people talking, that gets you the PR, that’s the visual, compelling, sustainable thing that people see,” he said. “But the background details, such as taking care of the basics in your shop environment, changing out the lightbulbs, that’s the kind of stuff that pays back as well. We kind of missed the boat on that on our first few projects, and now with every single solar project that we do we’re going to bundle them together.”

The combination of the energy efficiency moves and the PV power pop should cut the facility’s power bill in half–from about $1.1 million to $550,000–with some three-quarters of those savings attributable to the efficiency efforts, according to Lindholm.

The new PV systems bring the total amount of solar power deployed by Metro since 2006 to more than 2 MW. A pair of  213-KW systems have been supplying renewable juice to a couple of bus divisions in the San Fernando Valley for a few years, while a 417-KW array resides mostly atop carport shade structures in Carson, Lindholm explained. All three of the existing installations employ Schott Solar panels.

metro_la_rooftop3After going through a learning period where he admits “we weren’t Johnny on the spot as a new solar panel owner,” he hired a dedicated employee–who Lindholm has nicknamed “Solar Man”–to be in charge of the quarterly module cleaning, inverter maintenance, and daily systems monitoring.

Lindholm just raves about the advantages of the public-private partnership approach taken by Metro and its solar partner, CES. “I will never do another solar project without it,” he said. In addition to overseeing the system for the long term, CES guarantees the energy savings and the amount of energy generated by the PV system for 10 years, and “if they don’t, they’re gonna pay me.”

“We were able to negotiate that with Chevron, and they’re comfortable with it,” he continued. “We need to comply with their strict maintenance plan in order to stay in the guarantee. We think that’s a good thing too since it pretty much took most of our risk off the table and guarantees our returns.”

Metro’s latest PV project also benefited from a healthy dollop of incentives, mostly from the L.A. Department of Water and Power–something that was also part of Chevron’s guarantee. In fact, the CES folks “chased down” the rebates, “shaking trees” to get an extra $1 million above and beyond the contracted $5.3 million–an cash windfall split 50:50 by the two partners, according to Lindholm. As a result of the money-tree shaking, the $16.5 million project–which was financed by Bank of America–came in at closer to $10 million.

So what’s next for Metro’s photovoltaic expansion? A project featuring some 2.3 MW of PV installations that will be “designed to show the different applications that you can do in a transit environment,” Lindholm explained.

The six sites he envisions include carport shade structures on top of a parking garage next to the Gold Line train station in Pasadena; a quarter-mile of solar-integrated soundwalls as part of the expansion of the 405 Freeway; sizeable arrays at the Red Line subway maintenance yard in downtown L.A. (the biggest single system of the six planned) and Metro’s light-rail maintenance yard in Hawthorne; a system at a bus division in Cypress Park; and a different kind of installation as part of a new bus division downtown, which will use “PV as part of the architecture, on kind of a louvered screen on one edge of the project.”

Lindholm “would like to get a request for proposal out and ready for competition by late summer,” then pick a partner and start negotiation. That partner must be “willing to do these six sites at the same time, and go and get us some incentives and rebates, build the projects, and guarantee the savings and power generated, just like we did on the Chevron deal.”

He estimates that from the time he puts out the RFP to the time that he’s “awarding the contract and getting ready to go” should be about five months, or roughly late 2009 or early 2010. Lindholm expects to capitalize on the federal stimulus package offerings for such projects. He believes they can “wrangle up about 37% of the cost in rebates and incentives” locally, so Metro would end up asking the Feds to “pitch in 67%, which is pretty attractive to them.”

Just in case those recovery act funds don’t flow as expected for the new project, the Metro director also wants to require whichever solar integrator signs up with the agency to bring along “a strong financial partner” as well.

“We’re going bigger,” Lindholm beamed. “We’ve got a bit of a pattern already where we like to double what we’ve done every project. We’d like to keep that going.”


Credits: PV-Tech.org, Tom Cheney


2 thoughts on “Los Angeles Metro Solar Ambitions

  1. Solar Energy will power most of the world soon.

    The Future World Wide for Electric Vehicles (EVs) looks brighter all across many countries more Cities

    are turning to (Clean Cities) and installing more Charging Stations for (EV) some are even

    powered by the Sun, Solar Energy power for Electric Charging Stations. The day will come soon when

    Hybrid Cars and (EV)’s will out number the gas cars and gas vehicles in cities. People around the World have

    longed for this day to come when the demand for Oil will go down. All look forward to Energizing their Cars

    from the top of their own roofs through Solar Panels (PV)’s that get Free Energy from are Lord the SUN.

    GOD Bless all that spot Light Solar Energy

    The Lord’s Little Helper
    Paul Felix Schott
    November 15, 2011

  2. Renewable Energy Solar, Wind, Hydro, Geothermal and others should be on the front cover of every Science Book kindergarten through high school.

    Leaders and Schools in all Nations need to Teach more on Solar and Renewable Energy.

    When this Old World starts getting you down. From Pollution the cost of OIL,
    Heating Fuel,The Fuel you put in your Vehicles, You Electric Bills from
    cooling air conditioners and lights not to speak of the Evil. The TAX that all
    Governments Federal, State, County and City put on everything they can thing of.
    They are supposed to serve us. Not put a burden on its people. That they are
    elected to serve all the people you, not their own Pocket Books.

    The Wicked keep putting higher taxes on everything. Making it a Heavy
    Burden on many that are already struggling just to put food on the table.
    Too many Americans and People of all Nations have lost their home to the tax collector or to foreclosures
    from the unjust bankers greed and their Government leaders. More are out of work and lost their homes then
    in the GREAT DEPRESSION, in the last ten years. All Americans and many Nations
    need good jobs and more of them. Not more TAXES and Wars.

    There is a Industry that will employ workers and is growing by more then 50%
    every year. There is a clear way for all up on the roof the Sun Light is free
    fuel from GOD. Some wicked in Government have been backing Coal, Oil, Gas and
    the Nuclear industries for too many years. These kickbacks to them were called
    Subsidizing Industry Technology and high paid scientist. Most all Wise Men and smart Economist, Environmentalists and good at heart Scientist call this padding their pockets and subsidizing back to the
    Stone Age.

    This might even been funny in the 1960′s. If it were a Fred Flintstones and
    Barny Rubble Movie. About How to aggressively systematically work with the rich
    to Pollute Ground Water quality to the point it is unsafe to drink or use.
    So to they make a law you can only buy water from their pipe line. And to make
    the air we breath full of Toxic Gases, Sulfur Dioxide and more Radioactive
    and Acid Rain. Injuring all living things on Earth.

    With Fred Flintstones to the Rescue. To help create a Healthier Environment.
    For all Future Generations. By spotlighting Renewable Energy and Free Energy
    like Wind and Solar. On his and his neighbor Barny Rubble’s roof. Even though
    the greedy wicked would do everything to stop or slow them down.

    Just imagine a dream that a 100 years ago one of the smartest man to ever
    live had. A dream after working with Sun Light. That all on Earth would use
    Free Energy Solar Energy.

    That Dream also shared by a man that dreamed this over 2,250 years ago.
    Both These men showed the world in their days. That this dream of Free Energy
    Solar Energy World wide was very possible. Both of these two wise men had
    first hand worked and researched their experiments for not just days, weeks
    put for many years.

    One of these men used chalk on Black Board the others board was a black
    stone table or floor covered with white sand and used a stick. One of these
    two Brilliant men had Kings from all most every Kingdom on Earth come to him
    for advice.

    The other went to almost every nation on Earth. Freely on his own dime
    Teaching All that had ears to hear. He would win the Nobel Prize for doing so.
    For his work on Solar Energy. Only after years of doing research and when most
    Scientist on Earth would not take the nomination for the Nobel Prize in 1921 and knew
    it clearly belonged to this Brilliant Scientist, this Brilliant scientist was then awarded it in
    1922 for the 1921 year.

    Now if this was just a Pretend TV Show or a Movie from a dream. This would
    be a great Sci Fi Story Line. In the 1960′s or even better to day. Sci Fi story
    Movie or dream No.

    All that i Have told you did actually really happen. Albert Einstein won the
    Nobel Prize for what? When Government leaders asked him to go on stage. To
    address the Scientific Community and the World. About what he was given the
    Nobel Prize for. When Albert Einstein Had done so. He addressed them with his
    other accomplishments. For years most Governments did not have a ear for
    Einstein’s Dream.

    Archimedes around 250 B.C. was know most of the World over as a great
    Mathematician. One of the first Scientist and Inventor of many things. Even
    the first Laser Ray from the Sun’s Energy. Science Fiction is what you would
    have though you were seeing if you could go back in time, it was real.To day
    we call it The LASER, Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission. Back then it
    was just called Amplification of the SUN, Archimedes Death Ray.

    Thousand of years later it would be a Laser. That Albert Einstein help
    make possible. That would unlock one of the first books on Earth.
    The METHOD written by Archimedes. Then over more then 250 years later. When
    well Faded was cut from a scroll and put into a book form, to be easier to
    hide from the Romans by St. Paul. This book sold for over 2 million dollars.
    In New york at Christie’s Auction House.

    These two are at the top of the list of the World’s Greatest Scientists,
    Viewed by Scientist around the World.

    Sad that for the last 25 years or so of every teacher asked no matter what
    Grade k through 16. At least 80% of them did not know Archimedes. Even sadder 90%
    of them could not tell you what one of the most Brilliant Scientist to ever
    live on Earth. Won the Nobel Prize for.

    It was for the work Albert Einstein did to show the World it could get
    Free Energy, Electric from the SUN. (THE PHOTOVOLTAIC EFFECT).

    You ask this question to any Military general 95% of them will get it right.
    Even more surprising 99% of them will know more about Archimedes then most
    Teachers on Earth. Generals know Energy is the key to Winning.

    At almost one thousand to one Archimedes always won against what all knew was
    impossible odds. Archimedes home town city of Syracuse was victorious against the
    greatest Kingdoms Armies on earth many times. Syracuse once was one of the most
    powerful cities in the World.

    I can only ask you to please look into Solar Energy, Solar Power, Solar Panels
    and Solar array on the internet under Images. To see and explore for your self
    then you be the JURY.

    More then 10 years ago the Internet became most of the World’s Universities
    Learning Platform. A Modern Day Archimedes Resource Center.

    The Solar Energy Industry in the year 2010 and 2011 has leaped ahead farther and
    faster then any other industry on Earth. The Solar Industry in the
    United States of America alone, has grown by more then 50% in 2010 and
    that number has gone up even higher for the 2011 year.

    The strong benefits of Solar Energy is Clear Clean Air viewed in major cities
    as improving air quality. Clean Cities. By all that use there brain for good .
    View it as protecting the environment and Freedom from OIL , Coal and other Dirty Energy.

    While many Governments has eased the Taxes on Renewable Energy . Some cities in
    the states that these Legislators come from have
    worked against these tax credits.

    By doing so they are showing their true objectives. That they have stock in some
    power plants and do not want to lose all that Money they have been taking out of
    your pocket books for too many years. By taxing you on your Energy Bills. They want
    to Control Power and Tax Everything they can. Not let People be free to get their
    own power from the top of their own roofs.

    By adding their own taxes to them. These wicked leaders think that this will take
    away the incentives to harvest the Free Energy from the Sun.

    The Public ability and awareness for all on Earth to use the Natural Solar Energy,
    is Contributing to Production of Solar Energy Products. Making the Solar
    Energy Industry the fastest growing on Earth. A Wealth of Free Energy From The SUN.

    The more the wicked try to slow the Solar Energy Industry down, it only Enhances
    involvement and the efforts of the Good at Heart.

    through out History Many have tried to wipe the good from our history books.
    Read the Bible Jesus will Bless you more then i can.

    SolarWorld has been presenting a Einstein Award to personalities who have advanced
    the use of solar energy – and helped our Planet Earth.

    We all need to tell all our Teachers and Leaders to use our Nation’s Energy more wisely
    and efficient. Start to Teach all our Young about Renewable Energy Solar, Wind, and so on.

    Not to for get Flintstones, Fred well there are many the one that is in front of all others
    Started back in the 1970′s and started a small catalog that has turned into a Wealth of
    knowledge into Renewable Energy a book called REAL GOODS Solar Living Source Book.
    By Mr. John Schaeffer.

    The world is going more with SOLAR, Wind and Geothermal Powered Energy. Speaking of
    Geothermal Curt Lubben is just one of many sales representatives that has sold over a
    million dollars of Renewable Energy in less then 365 days in the year 2011. The day of the
    need for Dirty Oil, Coal and Dangerous Nuclear Power are coming to a end fast. The Freedom Element
    Living with Hydrogen That Dr. Addison Bain has showed the world will free most all of the
    need for the Power Grid and Oil CEO’s.

    Very soon most of the world will not need Oil. Renewable Energy like Solar, Wind, Hydro and
    Geothermal are now replacing dirty Energy like Oil. Solar Energy is growing World Wide at a
    record pace.
    Hybrid Cars are being sold all over the Earth. Soon Hybrid Vehicles that run on Electric /
    Hydrogen, The Freedom Element. Will free the world from Oil. Thanks to a Great Scientist
    Dr. Addison Bain’s Years of work for our Nation and with the Space Program on Hydrogen.

    The day will come when many will see Solar Panels on most everything. What Free Electric
    the sun makes will be used to split water into Hydrogen. The Hydrogen will be used to heat
    our homes and to cook on and put into are Hybrid Vehicles that will run on
    (The Freedom Element). Very soon most all will be filling up their Vehicles at Home.
    Free from the Sun’s Solar Energy. Just as Dr.Addison Bain has done for years The Fist Hydrogen
    Home Refueling Station in the World. That Dr. Addison Bain built by his self.

    GOD Bless you for reading this.
    May our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ
    guide your Heart.

    The Lord’s little Helper
    Paul Felix Schott

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