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Solar projects have yet to be plugged into SCE grid

January 17, 2012

The solar photo voltaic array at Death Valley National Park, an $800,000 project that has been left unplugged from the grid because of negotiation failures between federal agencies and Southern California Edison for three years. File photo

For an unknown reason, Southern California Edison is delaying the connection of multiple solar projects to the state’s grid, including those at Death Valley and Mono Lake.
Multiple solar projects have been installed at dozens of state parks and recreation areas as part of federal mandates to be more energy-efficient. And although most have been approved and accepted with other utilities, SCE has more than two dozen systems waiting to go on the grid – some for as long as three years.
The $800,000 solar-photo voltaic array in Death Valley was completed more than two years ago, and yet remains unplugged.
“We have been trying to get these agreements in place for quite some time. Everything is just sitting in the queue,” Park Superintendent Sarah L. Craighead said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times.
“We want to turn these things on,” she said.
Paul Klein, spokesperson for SCE, said by phone Monday that the utility and federal agency have been working to finalize a negotiation. Klein explained that the federal agencies want to modify contracts that SCE has rejected.
“There’s 24-plus systems in the Southern California Edison area that have been installed in the last three years that we have not been able to negotiate an interconnection agreement on,” said Jack Williams, recently retired as the National Park Service’s Oakland-based regional facilities manager.
In a letter to Ronald L. Litzinger, president of SCE, Senator Barbara Boxer wrote, “At least 24 renewable energy projects across five National Park Service units in Southern California are still awaiting interconnection agreements with SCE … It is unacceptable that renewable energy projects that could save taxpayers money have been allowed to sit idle for so long.”

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