United States: Report Shows Utilities' Solar Capacity Grew 100% in 2010
Comprised of American electric utilities and solar companies the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) calls itself the "go-to resource for unbiased and actionable solar intelligence." In its latest report, SEPA's research reveals that utilities are rapidly increasing their solar power generation portfolios and surprisingly the majority of newly installed solar capacity is happening outside of California.
In its fourth year the 2010 SEPA Top 10 Utility Solar Ranking found that last year utility integrated solar power grew 100% over 2009.
According to the report the top 10 ranked utilities, seven of which are outside of California, added 561 MW of solar electric capacity. In fact, SEPA says that the 63% of new solar capacity installed by utilities from outside California is the largest percentage on record. In 2010 thirty utilities reported owning 140 MW of solar - revealing a 300% increase from 2009.
SEPA's top 10 Utilities Solar Rankings are based on newly installed solar power and are broken into two categories: Solar Megawatts -- which measures a utility's total added solar capacity in 2010 -- and Solar Watts-per-Customer -- which measures a utility's new solar installed divided by its number of customers.
Topping the Solar Megawatt list is Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) which added 157 MW of solar power capacity in 2010, almost doubling its closest competitor Florida Power & Light Company which secured second place on the list with 82 MW. Rounding out the top three is New Jersey's Public Service Electric & Gas Co. (PSEG) which added nearly 75 MW of solar capacity in 2010.
Adding close to 40 watts of solar-per-customer California's Silicon Valley Power took top spot in the Solar Watts-per-Customer category, just 5 watts more than runner up PSEG. Posting 35.2 watts per customer, PSEG squeaked by third place Hawaiian Electric Company Inc. which installed 33.2 watts-per-customer in 2010.
SEPA concludes its report not only shows a "rapid rise in the amount of solar installed on utility grids, but a trend towards utility-led initiatives that is behind much of the expansion of the solar market. A few years ago, the solar installed at many utilities was dominated by customer-owned, net-metered systems. In 2010, the emphasis had shifted to large, centralized plants and utility-owned projects."
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