Air Pollution Control Equipment Services, Emissions, Renewables

Historic Helms Bakery building taps into the sun with new solar power system

LOS ANGELES, Calif., Feb. 4, 2003 — In a “solarbration” event combining the old and the new, officials Saturday flipped the switch to begin operation of a solar electric system at the historic Helms Bakery Building in Los Angeles.

The 20-kilowatt (kW) system, installed atop of a shade carport with the assistance of Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) rebates, will provide clean, renewable energy for outdoor and common area lighting, plus to power charging stations for zero-emission electric vehicles. The 288-panel system is expected to save the Helms Bakery Building $5,000 annually in electricity costs.

“It’s extremely exciting to see new, green technology applied to a historic property in our city,” said City Councilmember Nate Holden. “This project demonstrates that we can retain landmark facilities while preserving the environment.”

LADWP’s Solar Incentive Program provided about $116,000 of the $240,000 project cost, with the system expected to pay for itself in seven years. Westlake Village firm Solar Electrical Systems designed and installed the panels.

“Installation of this newest solar system marks another step toward a cleaner environment in Los Angeles,” said Lillian Y. Kawasaki, LADWP assistant general manager for environmental affairs and economic development. “LADWP’s solar incentives allow Los Angeles businesses and residents alike to cost effectively tap into the sun as a clean, renewable power source.”

Added Angelina Galiteva, LADWP executive director of Green LA programs, “The Solar Incentive Program represents just one aspect of LADWP’s Green LA initiatives designed to implement cutting-edge environmental technologies in a way that responds to customer needs.”

Before the end of 2003, the Helms Bakery Building plans to install an 864-panel, 120-kW solar system on its main Bakery building. Building owner Wally Marks, who drives an electric vehicle, said this system is expected to save the facility $20,000 per year in electricity costs.

“Over the next 25 years, the new 120-kW system will save Helms Bakery Building a substantial amount of money, and will result in the elimination of nearly 5 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions, 40,000 pounds of sulfur dioxide emissions, and 1,250 pounds of nitrogen oxide emissions,” Marks said. “Solar panels clearly make good business sense and cents.”

About the Solar Program, Green LA and LADWP

LADWP has assisted with a number of solar power system installations at such well-known vendors as Whole Foods Market and Neutrogena. The Solar Incentive Program offers rebates of $4.50 per watt, or $6 per watt if the system is manufactured in the City of Los Angeles. The Solar Incentive Program is part of LADWP’s Green LA programs. Further information is available by visiting or calling 1-800-GreenLA.

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, the nation’s largest city-owned utility, serves more than 3.8 million people in a 465-square-mile service area.

About the Helms Bakery Building

The landmark art deco Helms Bakery Building, built in 1930, housed Los Angeles’ most famous bakery for 35 years. Today, the 11-acre site features a wide array of home and office furniture retailers, professional design offices, and artisans. It also includes the Helms Bakery Museum and the Jazz Bakery.

The adaptive re-use of the Beacon Laundry Building — site of the carport with the facility’s first solar electric panel installation — from an existing industrial laundry facility involves several ecologically friendly construction measures, such as use of green materials, recycled and salvaged materials, low-emission adhesives and paints, and more. At the same time, the building will retain its historic exterior features and facade.