The Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA), formerly the Solar Electric Power Association, has crowned Southern California Edison (SCE) the No. 1 U.S. solar utility of 2015 in terms of added capacity. According to the group’s annual utility solar market survey, SCE added 1,258 MW of solar power to the grid last year, more than any other utility in the U.S.
“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,” says Caroline Choi, SCE’s vice president of energy and environmental policy.
SEPA has also ranked the top 10 utilities that added the most watts per customer in 2015, and after hitting a new record of 2,104 watts per customer last year, the Village of Minster in Ohio has claimed that list’s No. 1 spot.
Minster Administrator Don Harrod says the award is “a real honor” for the village, which has a population of 2,850.
“The village officials [and] 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,” remarks Harrod.
According to SEPA, other key points from the survey include the following:
– California-based Pacific Gas & Electric (787 MW), which had claimed the No. 1 spot in total megawatts for the past eight consecutive years, fell to No. 2. Duke Energy Progress of North Carolina (461 MW) edged out San Diego Gas & Electric (441 MW) for the No. 3 spot, the first time a utility outside California has broken into the top of the list.
– In fact, North Carolina made an exceptionally strong showing in this year’s survey, with Duke Energy Progress and Dominion North Carolina Power appearing on both top 10 lists.
– On the watts-per-customer list – where small utilities have the competitive edge – municipal and electric cooperative utilities took seven of the 10 spots. Along with Minster, utilities breaking into the top 10 for the first time include Carey Municipal Power and Light, also from Ohio; the City of Okolona Electric Department in Mississippi; and Dominion of North Carolina.
“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,” says Julia Hamm, SEPA’s president and CEO. “Utilities are responding to consumer interest in solar with cost-effective, innovative programs that provide benefits to their customers and the grid.”
The 2015 survey results are based on raw data that SEPA received from about 330 utilities across the country, covering a total of 6,428 MW of new solar – residential, commercial and utility-scale – they connected to the grid in 2015.
More survey results are available here.