New name reflects growing connections between solar and other distributed resources

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Solar is one of the fastest growing energy sources in the U.S. But growth by itself is not enough. The positive impact of solar is magnified when partnered with complementary technologies intelligently blended into a more dynamic and responsive electricity grid.

In response to the continuing evolution of solar and clean energy, the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) will officially become the Smart Electric Power Alliance on April 11, 2016. The new name reflects what SEPA members do every day - evolve the ways we generate, deliver and consume the power that drives our economy.

"Utilities across the country are helping customers integrate an ever expanding catalog of distributed energy technologies into their lives and onto the grid," said Steven Malnight, Senior Vice President of Regulatory Affairs at Pacific Gas and Electric Company. "SEPA's balanced views and thought leadership, its focus on collaboration and smart solutions are critical during this period of rapid growth. This new name reflects both our industry's present reality and the important role smart technology will play in our energy infrastructure future."

This is why last fall the Association for Demand Response and Smart Grid decided to fold into SEPA, combining forces for greater impact. In the coming months, SEPA will roll out a new logo and website, an expanded research agenda, and educational events that reflect a wider focus on distributed resources.

"Siemens is excited to be part of the new SEPA, with its expansion into the full range of distributed energy resources including demand response, smart grids, energy storage, intelligent energy efficiency, and more," said Chris King, Chief Regulatory Officer, Siemens Digital Grid. "These are hugely important topics and continue to be a strong focus for Siemens as our industry undergoes a rapid evolution in technology and business models."

The official switch to Smart Electric Power Alliance coincides with the eighth annual Utility Solar Conference (USC) in Denver. The organization's trademark conference represents SEPA's ongoing commitment to solar. USC is a platform for utilities to learn best practices and address the challenges of deploying and administering solar and other distributed technologies on the grid.

"Utility integration and deployment of solar continues to be a core focus of this organization," said SEPA President and CEO Julia Hamm. "But adding high volumes of solar to our distribution and transmission grids -- while providing customers with clean, affordable and reliable power -- also means integrating a range of fast-changing and increasingly sophisticated technologies and resources.

"Our name change captures the dynamic nature of the transformation underway, while reaffirming our commitment to unbiased research and cross-industry collaboration," Hamm said.

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