11.6-MW Solar Project in Los Angeles Taking Shape

An 11.6-megawatt DC solar system composed of high-performance solar panels from SolarWorld has begun taking shape at the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s high-desert Adelanto Switching and Converter Station. The system features domestically produced solar panels, racking, inverters and other balance-of-system components, showcasing not only American solar technology production but also the industry’s domestic manufacturing supply chain.

Designed and procured by SolarWorld Power Projects, the company’s engineering, procurement and construction division based in Camarillo, Calif., the project pairs the nation’s largest municipal utility with the largest and most experienced U.S. solar manufacturer. Aside from 46,322 250-watt solar panels manufactured at SolarWorld’s headquarters manufacturing hub for the Americas in Hillsboro, Ore., the LADWP system employs a noteworthy array of American-made electrical components, including 600 amp connectors and surge arresters, and 13 Envirotemp FR3 biodegradable and non-toxic dielectric fluid-filled transformers, engineered-to-order and manufactured by Cooper Power Systems in Waukesha, Wis., and 13 inverters assembled by SMA America in Denver, Colo. The project’s switchboard and 117 combiner boxes also were domestically manufactured.

Located on a 42-acre site about 65 miles north of Los Angeles, the project is the largest domestic installation to use SolarWorld’s Sunfix Ground Mount system, which accommodates projects from 3.4 kW to tens of megawatts on varied terrains. The Adelanto system features more than 5 million pounds of aluminium Sunfix Ground Mount racking as well as 9,600 steel piers, which form the project’s underground structural foundation. Both the racking system and the piers are U.S.-made.

“The Adelanto project taps the impressive breadth of American engineering and manufacturing know-how,” said Kevin Kilkelly, president of SolarWorld Americas. “The integration of U.S. products illustrates that a strong domestic solar manufacturing industry has the power also to sustain other American production. Collectively, the supply chain puts thousands of Americans to work in high-value manufacturing jobs creating products that live up to our nation’s standards of sustainability, safety and quality.”

All told, seven domestic manufacturers are involved in the Adelanto project. Together, the companies employ more than 40,000 Americans in the Midwest, South and West Coast. SolarWorld alone employs more than 1,100 people in its American manufacturing and commercial operations in, respectively, Oregon and Camarillo.

The switching and converter station at the town of Adelanto serves as the southern terminus of LADWP’s Southern Transmission System, which links Southern California with wind farms and the existing Intermountain Power Project, a power generation facility in Utah capable of producing 1,800 MW of electricity. The Adelanto project is expected to produce 22,400 megawatt-hours during its first year and 515,700 MWh over a 25-year period, serving tens of thousands of L.A. power consumers.

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