Southern California Edison (SCE) installed 1,648 megawatts of new solar in 2016, more than double the amount any other utility added, easily making it first for overall solar installations, according to the Smart Electric Power Alliance’s (SEPA's) 10th annual Utility Survey Top 10 lists. It’s the second year in a row that SCE topped the list. Just as impressive, City of Palo Alto Utilities took the top spot for installing the most solar per-customer with 2.8 kilowatts per customer, compared to only 20.4 watts per customer in 2007, when SEPA introduced the rankings and City of Palo Alto was fifth in the category.
“SCE is proud to be ranked No. 1 and recognized as a solar leader among utilities for the second year in a row, and ranked No. 2 in storage capacity,” said Caroline Choi, SCE’s senior vice president of regulatory affairs. “These rankings reflect our employees’ efforts to make the clean, renewable energy our customers want more accessible. We’re committed to modernizing our system to meet our customers’ needs and to help California meet critical climate and air quality targets.” The utility also was ranked second for adding a total of 23 megawatts of storage capacity last year.
SCE ranked first and Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) ranked second in SEPA’s initial Utility Solar Top 10 list released in 2007. The amount of new solar added to the grid has dramatically increased for both utilities over 10 years. SCE added 409 megawatts of solar in 2007 compared to 1,648 megawatts added last year. PG&E added 144.5 megawatts of solar in 2007 and added 773 megawatts in 2016.
This year SEPA has added to its annual utility rankings by including energy storage added and most new energy storage added per customer. Imperial Irrigation District (IID) of Southern California took the top spot by adding 30 megawatts of new energy storage, while Sterling Municipal Light Department of Sterling, MA, led the list with 533 watts of energy storage per customer.
“It’s a pivotal time for the energy industry,” said Vicken Kasarjian, energy manager for IID. “With the increase of variable renewable energy and distributed generation on the grid, battery storage can provide operational flexibility while increasing system reliability. It’s exciting to see it come to life in the Imperial Valley, with IID leading the way.”
Solar and energy storage technology is proliferating across the US from west to east, according to SEPA. Utilities in Illinois, Indiana and Ohio ranked in the top 10 for most storage added and most storage added per customer. Meanwhile, utilities in the expanding markets of North Carolina and Georgia represented four of the spots in the top 10, both for most solar installed and most watts installed per customer during 2016.Tweet