The Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) has released its ‘2008 Top Ten Utility Solar Integration Rankings’ report, which identifies the utilities in the U.S. that have the most significant amounts of solar electricity integrated into their portfolio, and records the increased collaboration of the U.S. electric utility and solar energy industries.
According to SEPA, the report demonstrates that the utility segment is making a major investment to increase the amount of solar energy in power portfolios, with many utilities doubling the amount of solar power in their portfolio in just one year.
Overall installed solar capacity of the top ten ranked utilities rose from 711 MW to 882 MW, reflecting 25% growth. Ninety-two utilities participated in this year's survey – an increase of more than 80% over last year, showing that the utility industry's interest in solar power is stronger than ever.
The report also documents a wave of utility-driven installations, pointing to the growing importance of utilities in the solar power market, and the growing importance of solar power to the business of utilities. Historically, the solar power market has been dominated by customer-driven installations.
Solar power is entering a similar growth phase as wind power did a few years ago, with a dramatic increase in capacity expected, SEPA adds. Large-scale solar projects could face some of the same challenges wind projects faced, but will also benefit from the experience and impact of the wind industry on grid integration.
Pacific Gas and Electric Co., based in San Francisco, was the most solar-integrated utility for the year 2008, interconnecting 85 MW of new capacity. This number represented over 44% of the survey total. Ranked second and third were Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric, respectively.
The full report can be downloaded here.
SOURCE: Solar Electric Power Association