AltaSea Completes Large-Scale Solar Power Project
By Emily Vidovich. Emily has a background in environmental journalism and sustainability and is a member of the George Washington University Class of 2019.
Starting this fall, AltaSea’s solar panels will be up and running. AltaSea’s solar installation contains 4,753 solar panels—which will generate enough electricity to sustain the AltaSea campus as well as power 700 nearby homes.
The Port of Los Angeles, where AltaSea is located, is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions and health-harming pollutants. Transforming port operations to meet the goal of zero-emissions operations by 2030 requires rapidly scaling renewable energy. The solar project at the AltaSea campus, which is installed atop repurposed warehouses in the heart of the Port of LA, showcases how retrofitting existing infrastructure with renewable energy technology can be part of the solution. The project sets a precedent that, if followed, could lead to a cleaner future for the port while also giving low-income locals—who are the most impacted by port pollution—access to clean energy.
California has long been a world leader in renewable energy initiatives. In 2006, then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law the goal of installing solar panels on one million rooftops throughout California. By 2019, California had achieved this goal and installed enough solar panels to produce nine gigawatts of solar energy—equivalent to the energy production of six large power plants. This clean energy prevents 22 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions and 16,000 tons of smog-forming pollutants annually, according to the University of Southern California’s Schwarzenegger Institute for State and Global Policy.
Schwarzenegger continues to be a champion for climate action, advocating for workable solutions to climate change through the Schwarzenegger Climate Initiative. He will be visiting the AltaSea campus for an event celebrating the completion of the solar installation. The event, scheduled for April 21st, is open to the public. Those interested in attending can RSVP here.
Solar panels work using photovoltaic technology. Put simply, solar panels contain a material known as a semiconductor, which absorbs the energy from sunlight and transfers it to subatomic particles called electrons. These electrons flow through the semiconductor in the form of an electrical current. This current then flows through the grid-like lines on solar panels to an inverter, which is the device that converts the electrical current into the form compatible with the electrical grid. After the electrical current has been converted and supplied to the electrical grid, it is able to supply electricity to homes and other buildings.
AltaSea’s solar energy project is a significant step in the construction of its campus. To support AltaSea’s operations during construction and expand its workforce development education program, the Solar Stars Initiative is working to obtain pledges for $500,000. For a limited time, donations will be matched dollar for dollar by Drs. Melanie and Richard Lundquist.
The star-themed campaign plays off of the technical name for a solar installation—a solar system. All donors get one of AltaSea’s solar panels named in their honor, and each donor’s name will be placed on an artistic rendering of the night sky that will decorate the entrance of AltaSea’s Center for Innovation. Each star in this piece of art will represent solar panels creating renewable energy on AltaSea’s roof.
Global experts have indicated that switching to clean energy is the foundation of preventing the worst consequences of climate change. AltaSea is proud to be part of the clean energy transition in the Port of Los Angeles.