The Los Angeles Lakers are tapping into the sun with a new LG Solar installation by Vaha Energy on their new headquarters at the UCLA Health Training Center.
The new 171kW system is comprised of 456 of LG’s 375 watt NeON 2 panels and is expected to generate 245MWh of electricity annually. The system is expected to save the facility about $38,000 per year, or a rate of $0.16/kWh, which should pay off the system in an impressive 4 years, according to installer Vaha Energy.
The rapid payoff time highlights just how lucrative solar deals have become in recent years as falling prices of solar panels have propelled the industry to cut soft costs for systems, making returns on solar systems lucrative for even the bean counters over at corporate.
The facility itself is 120,000 square feet of LEED Platinum certified interior that hosts all of the training activities for the Los Angeles Lakers as well as the home court of the NBA G league South Bay Lakers. The space contains everything you’d expect from a basketball court and makes for one heck of a flagship installation for a massive solar array.
“Through the use of solar and by achieving LEED Platinum on their new facility, the Lakers have shown a commitment to sustainability of which Vaha Energy has long been an advocate,” Geoff Tomlinson, chief operating officer of Vaha Energy shared. “As the developer of this project, we hope that Lakers solar panels will inspire others in their community to follow suit.”
The installation by the world famous NBA team opens up the message of low cost, short return on investment rooftop solar panels to an entirely new audience. That message gets out both through associated messaging and marketing efforts but also simply through their presence on the roof.
Joseph McCormack, the Lakers Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President of Finance, said, “We are thrilled with the addition of our new LG Solar panels. Vaha Energy identified the LG Solar panels as the perfect match for our new facility, and we are very pleased with the results. One of our goals as an organization is to be at the forefront of energy efficiency, and these panels further our commitment to sustainability.”
As someone who isn’t really into sports, the one thing that stands out to me from this article is the short payback period. Continuing to drive the cost of rooftop solar down is perhaps the best lever we have to increase adoption and reduce our energy-related emissions. That goes for grid-scale, commercial, industrial, and residential rooftop solar installations. The future is indeed exciting and with a 4 year payback on this installation, it’s increasingly feeling like the future is already here.