SEPA Names Top Solar, Storage Utilities Of 2017

The Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) has announced its annual top 10 lists recognizing U.S. utilities that added the most new solar and storage to the grid in 2017.

Compiled as part of SEPA’s 11th annual Utility Market Survey, the lists include the top utilities for new solar megawatts and watts per customer (W/C), and new storage megawatts and W/C.

On the solar megawatts list, Pacific Gas & Electric regained the No. 1 spot this year with 831.3 MW, while Southern California Edison, last year’s No. 1, was second with 547.1 MW. The small town of Madison, Maine, took the top spot on the W/C list, with 1,819.6 W/C.

On the storage list, SCE ranked No. 1 for new megawatts with 56.2 MW, while the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative was No. 1 in W/C with 415.3 W/C.

“Despite a small dip in the general solar market, we are seeing new regional and state markets making gains across the country and across all types and sizes of utilities,” says Julia Hamm, president and CEO of SEPA. “Beyond their impressive numbers, this year’s winners embody a range of strong models for innovation and leadership that our industry will be able to build on as we move toward a clean, smart and resilient energy future.”

SEPA says this year’s solar lists are based on data provided by 423 utilities, representing around 114 million customers across the U.S. The storage lists draw on data from 169 utilities, representing 70.7 million customers.

Key takeaways include as follows, according to SEPA:

  • While California utilities took the top two spots on the solar megawatts list, the rest of the top 10 in this category show the ongoing growth of strong regional markets. Rounding out the top five are No. 3 Xcel Minnesota (522.3 MW), No. 4 Duke Energy Progress in North and South Carolina (355.4 MW) and No. 5 Xcel Colorado (318.8 MW).
  • Nine of the top 10 utilities on the solar W/C list are small municipals or electric cooperatives, underlining the spread of solar in rural communities. Joining Madison on the list are No. 2 Xcel Energy Texas and New Mexico (1582.6 W/C), No. 3 Anza Electric Cooperative in California (1,455.5 W/C), No. 4 Clarksville Light and Water in Arkansas (1,202.1 W/C), and No. 5 Pickwick Electric Cooperative in Tennessee (1,195.9 W/C).
  • By contrast, the top 10 lists for storage – both megawatts and W/C – show growth still centered in the Southwest and Hawaiian markets, which have high levels of solar. Several utilities in these regions appear on both storage lists, including SCE, KIUC, Tucson Electric Power and San Diego Gas & Electric.

In the coming months, SEPA will release a series of Market Snapshot reports on solar, storage and demand response, containing more data, analysis and insights from the 2018 Utility Survey. The full top 10 listings are available here.

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