Lancaster partners with US Topco Energy and SolarCity to build solar facility

(L to R) Jeff Palmdale, Solar City; Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris; Topco Chairman Joshua Chang. (Photo courtesy City of Lancaster.)

(L to R) Jeff Palmdale, Solar City; Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris; Topco Chairman Joshua Chang. (Photo courtesy City of Lancaster.)

LANCASTER – US Topco Energy, the City of Lancaster and SolarCity are collaborating to bring a four-megawatt, 16 acre “solar farm” to Lancaster, city officials announced this week.

The project, consisting of 14,000 ground-mounted solar panels installed on vacant city land, is expected to generate enough clean, renewable energy to annually power more than 550 homes.  SolarCity will design, build, own and maintain this new system, which is currently under construction. The project has been developed by US Topco and the city as phase one of an ambitious plan expected to bring a total of 200 megawatts of solar to Lancaster.

Under Southern California Edison’s CREST feed-in tariff program, the utility will pay SolarCity for the solar electricity the farm generates, which will feed directly into the local utility grid, reducing the City’s carbon footprint.

“Topco is committed to helping power the world with renewable energy, and the City of Lancaster has done more than any city in the nation toward this goal,” said Topco Chairman Joshua Chang in a news release. “We are proud to partner with Mayor Parris and with SolarCity, who share our passion to provide clean, affordable electricity to homeowners, businesses and government entities, alike.”

“Thanks to the many innovative partnerships the City has developed, we are continuing the development of Lancaster’s solar industry at a very fast pace,” said Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris in a city news release. “This project is yet another crucial step toward our goal of becoming America’s first truly Net-Zero city.”

This solar project culminates the effort launched in 2010 with SolarCity which is already bringing solar power to hundreds of homeowners, schools and churches across the city; as well as to Lancaster City Hall, the Lancaster Performing Arts Center, and the City’s minor league baseball stadium.

“SolarCity is proud and inspired to work with partners like Topco and the City of Lancaster,” said SolarCity CEO Lyndon Rive in a news release. “Our goal is to continue to make clean energy more affordable to more people and large-scale projects such as this one bring us closer to the goal line.”

Earlier this year, Lancaster became the first city in the nation to require housing developers to install solar energy with every new home built. More local projects with US Topco are planned.

(Information via press release from the City of Lancaster.)

  13 comments for “Lancaster partners with US Topco Energy and SolarCity to build solar facility

  1. john
    April 11, 2014 at 7:01 am

    To apply for any job at the solar farms they use a temp agency out of san diego. A majority of the jobs are filled and all from out of town employees.There is nothing local about any of these solar farms, its a shame.

  2. Oscar Mejia
    February 5, 2014 at 3:31 pm

    My Electric bill still looks the same and in fact it has gotten more expensive. We need to pass the savings on to Lancaster Residents.

    Oscar Mejia
    Lancaster City Council

  3. Solar power
    November 7, 2013 at 6:57 pm

    We drove down Ave. M today and east of 20th St. West is a HUGE solar farm being built. Might this be the one referenced here? When we drove by (at 10:45 am) about 30 workers were just sitting against the office trailers and BSing. Of course if it’s a $1.50 hour, then they get what they pay for. .Take a drive out there tho, it’s a huge project

    • Sean Gonzalez
      November 8, 2013 at 2:10 pm

      The one on avenue M has a big sign up saying Rutan Solar. That’s a different project and on the Palmdale side of the street. The one that they are building with Solar City is near the new Hospital on Ave I. It’s on Avenue H-8 Between 3rd Street and Division, near my home. Unless they have more than one project, this one looks like it’s going around the little High School.

  4. William
    November 7, 2013 at 11:28 am

    Which came first
    -any project in Lancaster


    -Parris’s overwhelming desire to be photographed?

  5. Sun Power
    November 7, 2013 at 10:44 am

    Just four more acre and they could have produced another megawatt like the plant in northern Lancaster

  6. joe
    November 7, 2013 at 10:23 am

    Will the employees be paid $1.50 an hour with a 50cent living stipend????

    • AV Town Crier
      November 7, 2013 at 12:30 pm

      Joe. Of course they won’t pay worker’s $1.50 an hour! What an insult. Lancaster will pay them a very generous $2.50 per hour and a $40 stipend.

  7. QHR
    November 7, 2013 at 8:30 am

    “This project is yet another crucial step toward our goal of becoming America’s first truly Net-Zero city.”

    Can we also focus on being ghetto free?

    • Sean Gonzalez
      November 8, 2013 at 2:13 pm

      Yeah, just start voting out the “Party of No” in 2014 so we can pass some jobs bills instead of trying to take down the ACA 42 times. Then people can go back to work, and nothing fixes poverty like higher minimum wages and jobs for everyone.

  8. Nikolas Malechikos
    November 7, 2013 at 7:07 am

    Does anyone know where this particular project is located? I’m curious…

    Joe > Since this work is being done by Solar City, they already have a presence here in the Antelope Valley, and have for quite some time. My guess is they are tapping into their existing pool of employees who already work here in the Antelope Valley. The scale of this project shouldn’t warrant the hiring of additional workers.

    Jon > That number of panels is about right.. it takes “about” 25 panels to supply all of the power a typical home consumes…. And as for the poppy fields being dug up. Sure, the fields where the large 2000 acre projects out off Ave D were build, did have poppies in them, they were NOT part of the California Poppy Preserve

  9. Joe
    November 7, 2013 at 12:05 am

    Anyone else notice how there is little to no advertising for local workers on these solar jobs, and Rex’s BYD manufacturers?

  10. jon
    November 6, 2013 at 5:04 pm

    14000 panels only powers 550 homes? hasn’t anybody noticed those massive dust storms, that have caused deaths, start from the solar fields out on the north west side of the valley? did it bother anyone that they dug up a good chunk of the poppy fields to put in a solar field?

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