The Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) has released the full 2012 Top 10 Utility Solar Rankings Report, which ranks utilities nationally and by utility type for more than 260 of the most solar-active utilities, representing 96% of the U.S. solar electric power market.
The report analyzes the amount of new solar power interconnected by U.S. electric utilities and uncovered three key findings:
1. Annual solar capacity surpassed 2 GW for the first time in 2012.
2. The market share for large-scale solar projects grew 160 percent to 1.13 GW from 2011.
3. Net energy metering, or customer-sited solar, remains a large part of the solar market, accounting for 99 percent of newly installed projects, with the most growth concentrated in five states (California, Hawaii, Arizona, New Jersey and Colorado).
According to the report, there are more than 300,000 solar projects and approximately 6.1 GW of installed capacity in the U.S. Also, utilities reportedly purchased more than 1 GW of large-scale solar, mostly through power-purchase agreements. The report says the wholesale utility market included more than 70 photovoltaic projects, including Pacific Gas and Electric's purchase of 250 MW Agua Caliente project.
SEPA predicts that the completion of utility-procured, large-scale solar projects in 2013 will likely surpass the solar capacity deployed by all market segments in 2012.