Fully 330 utilities across the U.S. responded to the Smart Electric Power Alliance’s (SEPA’s) annual market survey. The 2015 survey found that respondents added 6.4 gigawatts of solar power across their service territories, with one utility, Southern California Edison (SCE), installing nearly 20% of the new solar power. The rankings looked at newly installed solar power across all sectors, residential, commercial and utility.
"We saw record installations of solar in 2015 across the United States. Our Top 10 survey results detail the scale of this growth, and the active role an increasing number of utilities are playing in it," said Julia Hamm, SEPA's President and CEO. “This year’s utility solar market survey truly shows the dynamic nature of the sector, and the positive, proactive role utilities are playing in the energy transition in our country.”
“Today’s recognition is the result of the work that SCE has been engaged in for many years, not just in connecting solar, but in supporting California’s ambitious carbon reduction goals and supporting customer choice in technology through innovation and investment in our distribution grid,” said Caroline Choi, SCE’s Vice President of Energy and Environmental Policy.
While SCE dominated the overall additions of solar power, 1,258 megawatts of solar power added in 2015, the survey also looked at which utility added the most new solar power per capita last year. Even with a whopping number like SCE’s it was no match for 2.1 kilowatts of solar power added per customer for the Village of Minster, Ohio. In fact, SCE didn’t even make that top 10 list this year. Then again, it’s dealing with millions of customers—Minster, Ohio has 2,850 people.
“Being the first place recipient in the watts per customer category is a real honor for the Village of Minster,” said Don Harrod, Village Administrator for Minster, which has a population of 2,850. “The village officials, the mayor realized the benefits of having green energy to really give the residents what our core mission is, and that’s to provide reliable, low-cost power.”
It’s the first time in nearly a decade that another California utility, Pacific Gas & Electric, was edged out at the top spot, according to SEPA. In the 2014 rankings it led all utilities with 1,505 megawatts of new solar. However, in 2015 it added 787 megawatts of new solar power, making it second on the rankings list.
Some other changes were afoot in the top 10 list as well. North Carolina utilities made particularly strong showings with Duke Energy Progress of North Carolina installing 461 megawatts—making it second on the list and Dominion North Carolina Power installing 232 megawatts last year—maiking it sixth. Both utilities also appeared on the top 10 watts per person list as well. Dominion installed 1.9 kilowatts per customer, making it second and Duke installed 354 watts per customer making it tenth on the list.
"Our customers are experiencing the benefits of Duke Energy's work to support the growth and expansion of solar generation in this region," said David Fountain, Duke Energy's North Carolina president. "We are proud to put more and more solar energy to work for our customers in a way that works for everyone."Tweet