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June 03, 2009

Report: Utilities with the Most Solar Power are Still Adding the Most

Although the use of solar power is gaining a more diverse following among U.S. electric utilities, the utilities that installed the most solar power in the past continue to lead the nation in installing new solar power capacity. That's the conclusion of the latest solar rankings of utilities, which was released on May 28 by the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA). The organization's "2008 Top Ten Utility Solar Integration Rankings" report draws on survey reports from 92 U.S. utilities, but the 10 utilities that installed the most solar power accounted for 88% of all the new solar power capacity. That's actually an improvement in diversity, as the top 10 utilities previously accounted for 97% of the new solar capacity.

California utilities lead the pack, with the Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E) installing 84.9 megawatts of solar power capacity in 2008, while Southern California Edison (SCE) has the most cumulative installed capacity, at 441.4 megawatts. SCE leads mainly because of its large concentrating solar power (CSP) plants in the Mojave Desert. Looking only at customer-located systems, PG&E holds the lead with 219.1 megawatts. SEPA notes that the growth in solar power capacity in 2008 came almost entirely from thousands of customer-located projects, as opposed to central power plants, but the organization sees a growing role for centralized plants in the future. One example of that new trend is NV Energy's third-place position for cumulative solar power, thanks to its launch of the 64-MW "Nevada Solar One" CSP project in 2007. See the SEPA press release (PDF 70 KB) and report (PDF 1.0 MB). Download Adobe Reader.

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