The amount of solar installed in the U.S. and the world last year easily dwarfed previous years’ records but new data out from the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) shows that the majority of new solar installed in the U.S. was highly concentrated among just a few utilities. Across the US just 10 utilities integrated fully 82 percent of all the solar power installed that country last year.
Worldwide nearly 37 gigawatts of solar power was deployed last year and the U.S. accounted for more than 10 percent of that, bringing 4.2 gigawatts of that solar generation capacity online in 2013, surpassing a 10 gigawatt threshold. Those are all positive things. However, instead of spreading to a wider swath of the US it appears that the majority of new solar generation that has come online is concentrated among few utilities compared to the previous year. In the SEPA Top 10 by Solar Megawatt ranking 10 utilities accounted for 82 percent of all capacity integrated in 2013, up from 73 percent in 2012.
"We are thrilled to see milestones surpassed and barriers broken from coast to coast," said Julia Hamm, president and CEO of SEPA. "It's truly inspiring to see utility partners and their consumer communities rally around implementing solar programs that are changing the nature of our national energy portfolio."
For the sixth time Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) led the country with 1,471 new megawatts of solar far outpacing all other utilities. "We are firmly committed to renewable energy and solar is a vital part of California's energy mix," said Steve Malnight, PG&E's Vice President of Customer Energy Solutions. "Given both PG&E's large-scale solar procurement and our customers' ongoing support of solar and other clean technologies, we are confident we will continue to be a renewable energy leader."
San Diego Gas and Electric Company (SDG&E) was second with 643 megawatts and Arizona Public Service (APS) was third with 417 megawatts. Of the top 10 utilities, six were also on the list in 2012, according to SEPA.
Duke Energy’s Duke Energy Progress debuted on the list at fifth with 137 megawatts of new solar power. Other first timers on the list included National Grid, Public Service Electric and Gas and Georgia Power.
"These rankings reflect how Duke Energy is bringing cost-effective solar to our customers," said Rob Caldwell, vice president, Duke Energy Renewable Energy Development. "We remain hard at work securing additional solar energy that will make our generation fleet cleaner and support energy policy.”
Duke Energy’s Duke Energy Carolinas came in 10th on the top 10 list, deploying 58 megawatts of solar last year. The company, which also owns 145 megawatts of solar across the country said it go most of the new solar by purchasing it from regional solar developers. It also plans on adding 300 more megawatts of solar power by the end of 2015. "Our focus is cost-effective utility-scale solar that will have the greatest impact on our generation portfolio,” Caldwell said.
SEPA also released its Top 10 Solar Watts-Per-Customer rankings, which looks somewhat different than the overall rankings. Massachusetts’ Sterling Municipal Light Department (SMLD), which serves 3,700 customers, led that list with 831 watts of solar power per customer. SDG&E was second on that list as well with 461 watts per customer installed. APS Hawaiian Electric Co. and PG&E also made both top 10 lists. Two other Hawaiian utilities made that list as well, Maui Electric Company and Kauai Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC).Tweet