LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Leading solar power systems maker Siemens Solar Wednesday announced it is opening a facility in the Los Angeles area, attracted by an incentive program offered by the city which can more than cut in half installation costs. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has offered discounts of $5 a watt for customers who buy solar panels made in the city and the Siemens facility will be the first to qualify for the incentive.
LADWP, the nation's largest municipal utility, had budgeted a total of $8 million for its solar panel incentive program which it believes holds the potential of creating 2 megawatts of photovoltaic energy, or enough to power 600 homes annually.
That total is dwarfed by the average 1,000 MW produced by a single-unit nuclear power plant.
LADWP said an average system producing 2 kilowatts of electricity, enough to supply 20 to 60 percent of the needs of an average home, would cost around $8,000 with the incentive, representing a discount of about 56 percent.
California is in the midst of a chronic power shortage caused partly by a failed deregulation experiment.
The new Siemens plant will employ about 50 people.
Solar Industries L.P. is an affiliate of Siemens AG.