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SolarCity plans 160,000 solar energy systems on military bases

The company's $1-billion SolarStrong project would add rooftop solar installations at 124 military housing developments in 33 states. It would double the number of sun-powered systems in the U.S.

September 08, 2011|By Tiffany Hsu, Los Angeles Times

SolarCity, one of the country's largest residential solar energy system providers, plans to double the amount of rooftop installations across the country by setting up sun-powered systems on 160,000 homes and other buildings on military bases.

The five-year, $1-billion SolarStrong project targets rooftop solar installations at 124 military housing developments in 33 states. SolarCity has already lined up a conditional commitment for a $344-million loan guarantee from the federal government.

The project would eventually generate 371 megawatts of electricity from photovoltaic systems atop family homes, community centers, administrative offices, maintenance buildings, storage warehouses and other facilities built and managed by private companies, SolarCity said.

The first batch of installations is in full swing at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii. It's set to provide electricity to 2,000 military homes, the company said.

SolarCity said it hopes to hire and train veterans and relatives of service members to install and maintain the systems, boosting domestic jobs.

The San Mateo, Calif., company has made several ambitious moves this year. It has expanded to the East Coast and become involved in electric vehicle charging.

In June, Google Inc., in the search company's largest green investment, created a $280-million fund to help SolarCity pay for installations and maintenance costs in exchange for a cut of customer payments.

tiffany.hsu@latimes.com

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