By Tiffany Rider - Senior Writer
February 28, 2012 - Local companies are taking advantage of the region’s sunshine, continuing Southern California’s status as a leader in the solar industry.
According to the “California Solar Cities 2012” report by the Environment California Research & Policy Center, the City of Los Angeles is number two in solar installations and second in the amount of solar energy generated statewide, following San Diego.
State incentive programs like the California Solar Initiative (CSI) support the growth of businesses in the solar industry through its residential solar subsidies.
Long Beach is home to several solar production and installation companies, including Lite Solar in Bixby Knolls.
Ollie McKinney, head of administration for Lite Solar, said the two-year-old local business has already developed successful relationships in the commercial real estate sector. As of January, Lite Solar has closed $100 million worth of commercial solar panel installation projects.
Lite Solar is a wholly owned subsidiary of real estate developer and operator International Finance, a 40-year-old company which has been based in Long Beach for more than a decade. In looking for its own energy savings solutions, International Finance decided to install solar panels on covered parking at its multi-family unit apartment buildings across the nation, according to McKinney.
“The story that we tell about why they need solar is the truth, because that’s exactly why we went into it,” he said. “We know their bottom line as well as they do, because we are in that business.”
Lite Solar employs about 100 people today, and McKinney expects the company to grow to a maximum of about 300 employees. About 75 of the firm’s employees work in Long Beach. The business sub-contracts for some jobs, such as those outside the state.
Lite Solar has a proprietary system design and construction methods for its covered parking and energy backup systems. According to McKinney, having that backup system is important due to concerns about the stability of our existing power grid and the expectation that solar flares in 2012 could cause widespread power outages.
To that very point, energy providers like Southern California Edison (SCE) have been working on growing their solar portfolios for decades. Today, SCE buys 65 percent of U.S.-generated solar power.
“In California, we are blessed with an abundant source of renewable fuel from the sun,” according to a statement by Stuart Hemphill, senior vice president of SCE’s Power Procurement. “We are encouraged by all of the initiatives and innovation taking place in the industry to take advantage of this plentiful source of power. Our productive partnerships with customers and developers will help assure Edison continues to lead the way in renewable power.”
Melicia Charles, customer generation programs supervisor with the California Public Utilities Commission’s Energy Division, told the Business Journal via e-mail, “Last year, California reached a major milestone of installing over 1,000 megawatts of solar statewide – over 60 percent of which can be attributed to the CSI Program. CSI incentives began at $2.50 per watt at the beginning of the program, and now range from $0.35 to $0.65 per watt in the Los Angeles area. Even though the incentives are declining, the program is still going strong and solar is being installed in record numbers.”
Charles notes that Los Angeles County has more than 136 megawatts worth of installed and pending projects associated with the CSI Program – the most in the state. The county also has the second highest number of projects in the program, with more than 7,600 in all. “All of this translates into a robust environment for green job growth,” she said.
The Environment California Research & Policy Center rankings listed Long Beach at number 23 with 563 “grid-tied” solar systems installed. Fresno and Sacramento, two cities with about the same population as Long Beach, were ranked fifth (2,146 installations) and tenth (1,119), respectively.
For a copy of the policy center’s report, California Solar Cities 2012, visit here for more information.
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Morning Coffee - A Caffeinated News Update
May 20, 2013
New Issues Of The Long Beach Business Journal Hit Stands Tomorrow:
• Copies are at the office today! Feel free to stop by and pick one up. We're located at 2599 E. 28th St., Ste. 212 in Signal Hill. We open at 8:30 a.m.
City Meetings And Events:
• May 20: Vice Mayor Robert Garcia, in conjunction with the City of Long Beach, hosts a final community meeting on the Armory Park project from 6-7:30 p.m. at the Pacific Island Ethnic Art Museum, 695 Alamitos Ave.
• May 20: Councilmember Gerrie Shipske hosts “Open Up Long Beach” from 6-8 p.m. at the Long Beach Police Officer Association Park, 7390 E. Carson St. The event is a behind the scenes look at Long Beach Police Department’s K-9 Unit. For more information, visit http://www.openuplongbeach.com or call 562/570-6932.
• May 21: The Long Beach City Council’s Long Beach Transportation and Infrastructure Committee meets at 3 p.m. at city hall to discuss: a citywide Pavement Management System; alternative sidewalk maintenance techniques; and more. Visit http://longbeach.legistar.com.
• May 21: Long Beach City Council meets at 5 p.m. at city hall to discuss: $2.1 million in contracts for grounds maintenance services; $1.1 million in contracts for service providers to operate Pacific Gateway Workforce Investment Act Youth Academy projects; and more. Visit http://longbeach.legistar.com.
• May 22: A community meeting for the Long Beach Draft Mobility Element, which is currently in the public comment period, is scheduled for 6 p.m. at the Miller Family Health Education Center, 3820 Cherry Ave. Visit http://www.lbds.info.
• May 23: Signal Hill Chamber of Commerce holds its monthly luncheon from 11:45 a.m.-1:30 p.m. at the Signal Hill Community Center, 1780 E. Hill St. $25. RSVP to Judie Johnson at email@example.com.
• May 23: The Long Beach Sustainable City Commission meets at 4 p.m. at city hall to discuss: the Los Cerritos Wetland Conceptual Restoration Plans; Port of Long Beach Climate Change Adaption and Coastal Resiliency Plan; and more. Visit http://longbeach.legistar.com.
• May 29: 7th District Councilmember James Johnson, in conjunction with the city’s police and fire departments, hosts a public safety summit at 7 p.m. at Silverado Park, 1545 W. 31st St., featuring Fire Chief Mike DuRee and Police Chief Jim McDonnell. Call 562/570-7777 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
• May 30: Temple Israel hosts a new speaker series, “Future Focus,” with inaugural speaker Mayor Bob Foster. The program is at 7:30 p.m. at Temple Israel, 269 Loma Ave. For reservations, e-mail email@example.com.
Business Meetings & Events:
• May 20: Wrigley Area Neighborhood Alliance meets from 7-9 p.m. at Veterans Park Social Hall, 101 E. 28th St. Guest Speaker is Ted Stevens of the city’s Animal Care Services. For more information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call Maria at 562/427-5021.
• May 22: East Spring Street Business Association meets from 6:15-7 p.m. at Joan Stiehl’s Farmers Insurance Office, 6200 E. Spring St., Ste. B.
• May 23: Long Beach Lincoln Club hosts a luncheon at noon at the Long Beach Yacht Club, 6201 E. Appian Way. Guest speaker is Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Philip Mautino. $25 for members; $35 for non-members. For more information call 562/439-9390.
• May 23: Long Beach Area Republican Party hosts its annual Western Bar-B-Q from 6-8 p.m. at El Dorado Golf Course, 2400 N. Studebaker Rd. Speaker is Ruben Barrales, former director of White House Intergovernmental Affairs and current president of “Grow-Elect,” an organization to help elect Republican Latino candidates to public office. $50. RSVP to 562/424-1246 or visit http://www.longbeachrepublicans.org.
• May 27: Forest Lawn celebrates Memorial Day with its annual program at 10 a.m. at 1500 E. San Antonio Dr.
• May 28: East Anaheim Street Business Alliance hosts its monthly business meeting at noon at the Long Beach Playhouse, 5021 E. Anaheim St. Featured guest speaker is Straight Talk TV host Art Levine. Lunch is optional. RSVP at email@example.com or 562/494-3800