New Siemens Solar Panel Planet Opens in California

New Chatsworth facility to employee 50.

Published: 06-Feb-2001

LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Feb. 6, 2001--Harnessing the sun and an innovative incentive program to spur wider use of solar power in Los Angeles, Siemens Solar Industries today announced the opening of a new solar panel manufacturing facility in Chatsworth, Calif.

Siemens Solar, the leading international provider of solar cells and modules, is the first manufacturer to qualify for a Los Angeles Department of Water and Power program that provides financial incentives for local production and use of solar photovoltaic systems to reduce electricity demand and encourage cleaner, alternative power sources.

"With the arrival of an outstanding company like Siemens to a city already benefiting from the innovation and reliability of our LADWP, Los Angeles is poised to become the Solar Capital of the World," said Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan. "There's a growing appetite for new, cleaner power sources. It has never been easier, or more affordable, to plug into the sun.

"Once again," Riordan said, "Los Angeles is a shining example of how world-class cities can encourage new business and promote the use of alternative resources that reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, which foul the air and pollute our environment."

City Councilwoman Ruth Galanter, chairwoman of the Commerce, Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said, "The decision by Siemens Solar to locate in the city of Los Angeles demonstrates that solar power has a real future in the production of clean, non-polluting energy. I'm happy to welcome Siemens Solar to Los Angeles."

Kenneth T. Lombard, president of the Board of Water and Power Commissioners, said the Department's Solar Rooftop Incentive Program and Siemens' arrival would help expand the solar industry at a time of volatility in the California and national energy markets and stimulate new, more affordable products for customers.

"Los Angeles benefits by making available cleaner power that can be used in the city or sold as surplus," Lombard said. "What's more, solar is a technology that is here and now, and any investment that jump-starts the market for this safe, clean energy source in L.A. is money well spent to ensure a sustainable energy future."

Chester (Chet) Farris, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Siemens Solar, said, "The LADWP bonus incentive program that allows us to more competitively market our ready-to-install solar systems in Los Angeles was key in our decision to come to the city of Los Angeles.

"In a sense, we're planting a seed that could give rise to a new, vibrant market for our solar technologies that can provide supplemental power, from single-family homes to large businesses," Farris said. "We are very pleased with the leadership and vision of the city of Los Angeles and the LADWP. Their commitment to bring clean, renewable energy sources like solar electric to L.A. is an example for the entire nation."

Clean Technology Will Supplement Power Delivery, Ease Demand

At its new facility in Los Angeles, which will employ about 50 people, Siemens Solar will produce solar panels for its residential and commercial supplemental solar power systems. The facility will also include a showroom and a training center to help teach electricians how to install the equipment.

Siemens will benefit from an incentive program in which LADWP customers can lower the cost of an installed system by $3 per watt for installed solar power systems manufactured outside the city, and a maximum of $5 per watt for those manufactured inside the city. The maximum incentive payment for a residential site is $50,000; for a commercial site, $1 million.

Angelina Galiteva, director for strategic planning for the LADWP, said the incentive program complements the Department's Green Power for Green LA initiatives and holds the potential of creating two megawatts of photovoltaic energy, or enough to power 600 homes annually (a).

"The net result is win-win for manufacturers and users of clean solar power in Los Angeles," Galiteva said.

In its landmark 2000 Integrated Resources Plan, the LADWP cites the increased use of photovoltaics in reducing emissions and electricity demand. In fact, industry experts predict the $1.5 billion solar electric market will double by 2005 and again in 2010.

LADWP Has Goal of 100,000 Solar Rooftops by 2010

With year-round sunshine, air-quality issues and growing demand for electricity, Los Angeles is seen as a solid proving ground for photovoltaic technology that can be tied in to the Department's transmission grid at customer locations without taxing the existing infrastructure. The Department goal is to encourage the installation of 100,000 solar systems in Los Angeles by 2010.

"Visibility and volume are key to actually demonstrating the viability of PV technology," said Galiteva. "By driving the costs down and recognizing the benefit of the investment in monthly energy savings for the long term, solar should be an attractive option for all LADWP customers."

About LADWP

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power serves more than 3.8 million people in Los Angeles and was established almost 100 years ago to provide water and electric needs to the city's businesses and residents. The solar program is part of LADWP's Green LA initiatives that include Green Power, Energy Efficiency, Electric Transportation, Cool Schools, New Technologies and Recycling efforts. Further information about the solar and other Green LA programs can be obtained by calling 800/GREEN-LA, or clicking onto www.GreenLA.com

About Siemens Solar

Siemens Solar comprises Siemens Solar GmbH in Munich, Germany, a joint venture of Siemens AG and E.ON Energie AG, Siemens Solar Industries L.P. in Camarillo, Calif., and two joint ventures: Siemens Showa Solar Ltd., Singapore, and Showa Solar Energy KK, Tokyo. Siemens Solar has to date supplied more than 200 Megawatts of solar throughout the world, making it the leading company in the photovoltaics industry. The company's Web site is www.siemenssolar.com.

(a) A 2,000-watt system (2kW) can supply the average home (1,500-2,000 square feet) with 20 to 60 percent of its power. With the incentive, a 2kW system costs approximately $8,000. A typical 2kW residential rooftop solar system produces 3,600 kW hours per year. This solar system therefore avoids the need to burn 3.7 tons of coal to produce the same amount of electricity, and thus prevents 10,000 lbs. of green house gases from entering the atmosphere. If the household uses more electricity than the PV panels are producing, the balance of the electricity will come from the power lines. If the household uses less, then the power goes back into the power lines to service other customers.

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