Utility Solar Continues to Drive Market Growth Across the United States
SAN DIEGO - Pacific Gas & Electric claimed the top spot in the Solar Electric Power Association's (SEPA's) Top 10 rankings of U.S. utilities that put the most megawatts of solar on the grid in 2014. Meanwhile, the Pickwick Electric Cooperative of Selmer, Tenn., was named No. 1 in the rankings for adding the most solar watts per customer.
The eighth annual Top 10 rankings, announced April 29 at SEPA's Utility Solar Conference in San Diego, are part of the educational nonprofit's 2014 Utility Solar Market Snapshot report.
The full report, also released at the conference, identifies key industry trends, including:
· Utility-scale solar's ongoing importance as a main driver of market growth,
· The emergence of dynamic solar markets outside California and Arizona
· The impact of the industry's continuing focus on cutting nonhardware "soft" costs, along with utilities' efforts to improve their interconnection processes
Utilities ranking in this year's Top 10 accounted for 72 percent of all new solar interconnections on the grid in 2014. California's other two investor-owned utilities -- Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric -- were No. 2 and 3, respectively, behind PG&E on the Top 10 list for solar megawatts added in 2014.
"We are 100 percent committed to solar energy and its role in California's energy future," said Laurie Giammona, PG&E's Senior Vice President and Chief Customer Officer. "Together with our customers and partners, we have worked to shorten connection times and help solar grow in our state. SEPA's recognition shows this collaboration is paying off."
On the watts-per-customer list, the Farmers Electric Cooperative of Kalona, Iowa and the City of St. George Energy Services Department in Utah, held down the No. 2 and 3 spots, behind the Pickwick Co-op.
"We saw it as an economic development engine for us," Karl Dudley, Pickwick's recently retired general manager, said of the two 16-megawatt solar installations that helped the co-op clinch the No. 1 ranking in watts per customer. "It made a statement: our utility is in the 21st century."
"The achievements of small cooperatives such as Pickwick underline solar energy's momentum across the United States. The market is no longer confined to California or a few other states," said Julia Hamm, SEPA's President and CEO. "Our Solar Market Snapshot also shows the leadership that utilities are providing as the industry works toward creating the new business models and regulatory frameworks needed to ensure a clean, affordable and sustainable energy future for all."
The 2014 Utility Solar Market Snapshot, with full Top 10 listings, can be found at www.sepatop10.org. A copy of the report and a graphics file are also attached.
The Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) is an educational nonprofit organization working to help utilities make solar energy a safe, reliable and reasonably priced part of their energy portfolios, while benefiting themselves, their customers and the general public. As co-sponsor of both PV America and Solar Power International, SEPA provides research reports and educational opportunities, including webinars, fact-finding missions and professional networking events.