Southern California Edison (SCE) has launched one of the most ambitious solar rooftop projects to date, promising 250 megawatts of photovoltaic power covering more than two square miles (some 65 million square feet) of southern California’s commercial building rooftops in what it claims will be the nation’s largest solar cell installation. All told, the project is forecast to cost $875 million and produce enough power for 162,000 homes. Booyah.This is of comparable size, at least in dollars, to this new solar plant. I don't really understand how much transmission lines cost, and whether distributed systems like this make more sense economically than central power plants. I should look into that (or hope that one of the highly educated loyal Fat Knowledge readers will leave a comment with some numbers or links (hint, hint)).
By spreading the panels out over an already highly wired area, SCE hopes to save itself — and presumably its customers — the cost of having to install new transmission lines. Access to transmission lines is one of the leading challenges for large solar and wind power installations, which are often located in remote regions.
It’s one of the most notable distributed-power projects ever undertaken by a large utility. The New York Times puts the size of the planned installation into context and says it is “10 times bigger than any previous such installation;” the NYTs notes that the largest in the U.S. is the 14 megawatts, at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada and the largest in the world is 23 megawatts in Spain.