In March this year Gizmag reported on Southern California Edison’s (SCE) plan to create the State’s largest single solar photovoltaic installation. The company has now announced that the first of its major commercial rooftop solar installations is complete, and powering homes in Southern California.

The site of this first installation is a 600,000-square-foot distribution warehouse roof in Fontana, which has been fitted with 33,700 advanced thin-film solar panels. This is now the largest single rooftop solar photovoltaic array in California and generates enough power during peak output conditions to meet the needs of approximately 1,300 homes.

The completion of the first of SCE’s proposed 150 solar photovoltaic installations on Southern California’s commercial rooftops marks just the beginning of this huge project which will eventually see two square miles of existing commercial roofs with 250 million watts of peak generating capacity – equivalent to building several utility-scale solar power plants. SCE has announced that the next installation target is atop a 458,000-square-foot industrial building in Chino, owned by the Multi-Employer Property Trust.

SCE’s $875 million rooftop project was prompted by advances in solar technology that reduce the cost of installed photovoltaic generation to approximately half that of current similar installations. Additionally, the utility hopes to fill a gap it has observed in current rooftop solar projects in the state – mid-range one to two megawatt installations.

SCE sees numerous benefits to customers, the region and the state from its massive solar project including providing new generation sources to areas where customer demand is rising, easy connectivity to nearby neighborhood circuits, the ability to match peak customer demand and the creation of new jobs in Southern California.

SCE is also pursuing other sources of renewable energy, earlier this year announcing plans to build the largest wind farm in the US.