SEPA will release the results of the survey in April 2014, and follow that with its new Utility Solar Market Report in June 2014. Past reports have received significant coverage from media outlets such as the Wall Street Journal, Renewable Energy World, Transmission & Distribution World, and Reuters.
The annual survey collects utility data on solar electricity installations in the United States, both photovoltaic and concentrating solar power, on the customer and utility side of the meter. “The industry, utility resource planners and customers interested in solar need to know who is installing systems, in what quantities and at what cost,” said Western Renewable Energy Program Manager Randy Manion. “This is essential market information for identifying strategies for expanding the use of solar.”
Municipal and cooperative utilities are making an impact in solar development especially in terms of watts per customer. In 2012, seven of the top ten Watts-per-Customer rankings went to cooperative and public utilities ranging from 160 to 560 watts per customer.
Each year, SEPA also announces the top ten annual and cumulative solar megawatt (MW) and Watts-per-Customer awards at its Utility Solar Conference . Last year Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD) placed ninth among utilities overall for Annual Solar MW and received first place for Municipal Annual Solar MW. SMUD integrated 66 MW of solar, mostly through the build-out of 54 MW of centralized projects in the feed-in tariff program the utility launched in 2010. Imperial Irrigation District (IID), another Western customer, claimed the seventh spot for Annual Watts per Customer with 190 W per customer account. IID integrated the 23-MW Imperial Valley Solar Project , the ninth largest solar project built in 2012.
Salt River Project in Arizona and Los Angeles Department of Water and Power also saw notable solar activity in 2012, with annual solar rankings of 17th and 18th respectively. Overall, municipal utilities integrated 138 MW of solar last year, and 20 integrated 1 MW or more each.
Cooperative utilities made a strong showing as well, integrating a total of 36 MW of solar, including eight that integrated 1 MW or more. Kauai Island Utility Cooperative occupied the number two spot with 282 watts per customer added in 2012, up from 12th place in the previous year. Most of the solar integration came from the newly built 6-MW Port Allen Solar facility , the largest solar facility in Hawaii.
The deadline for completing the survey is Feb. 4, 2014, however, early submissions are appreciated. If you prefer to fill out the survey as a Word document, contact Miriam Makhyoun at 202-379-1615. Those submitting by the deadline will receive complimentary summary reports.