Awards highlight stories of utility-solar industry innovation and collaboration
WASHINGTON, DC -- The Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) has announced the winners of its 2016 Solar Power Player Awards, to be honored Sept. 13 as part of Solar Power International in Las Vegas. Now in their eighth year, the awards recognize electric utilities, their industry partners and individuals for creating programs embodying the innovation and collaboration that drive smart utility solar growth and expand consumer access to distributed energy technologies.
• Investor-Owned Utility of the Year: Pepco, an Exelon company, for its development of automated tools to increase the amount of solar that can be connected to its distribution system, and to streamline the interconnection process for customers and installers
• Public Power Utility of the Year: Village of Minster, for an innovative, privately financed solar-plus-storage project that is providing the Ohio town and its partners with four different revenue streams.
• Electric Cooperative of the Year: Green Power EMC, for helping 38 electric cooperatives in Georgia implement a comprehensive solar strategy, upping these utilities' solar capacity under development 7.5 megawatts (MW) to 240 MW.
• Innovative Partner of the Year: Clean Energy Collective, for its deployment of a community solar development platform and toolkit that provide utilities with a turnkey option for standing up community solar programs.
• Solar Champion: Dora Nakafuji of Hawaiian Electric Company, for her leadership in developing data-driven tools for the utility to maintain grid reliability as it integrates ever-higher amounts of solar, moving toward the state's goal of a 100-percent renewable power system by 2045.
"Our 2016 Solar Power Players all have fresh, exciting stories to tell about the potential for innovative projects and programs when utilities and their solar industry partners work together on the solutions needed to bring more solar and other distributed technologies to the grid," said Julia Hamm, SEPA President and CEO. "Our winners provide ample evidence of the changes in institutional culture and operational style taking root across our industry, driving a transformation of our energy system that benefits all stakeholders -- consumers, utilities and the solar industry."
Brief profiles of the winners are attached; photos of Dora Nakafuji and some of the cited projects are available. Nakafuji and representatives of all winners will be available for interviews at the Solar Power Players Awards luncheon, 11:45 a.m.-1 p.m., Sept. 13 at Solar Power International.