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California yet again leading the pack

By Climate Guest Contributor

"California yet again leading the pack"

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The Solar Electric Power Association has issued a report ranking the top utilities that have integrated solar energy into their portfolio. Crowned at the top of several of the ranking categories are Southern California Edison and Pacific Gas and Electric Co.

ClimateWire has also covered the release and reports (full article):

The California company was rated as having the most overall solar capacity and the highest solar capacity per customer. The association notes, however, that Southern California Edison may not stay in the top spot for long, as other utilities are planning to build concentrating solar thermal plants [baseload solar plants], which use technology such as mirrors to collect sunlight and use the energy to heat water for electricity generation.

Southern California Edison also landed the top spot on a separate ranking for the most overall solar megawatts on the utility side of the meter. In that arena, the use of photovoltaic panels was a new development, the association says, with companies such as Duke Energy and San Diego Gas & Electric announcing projects through utility or third-party ownership.

“This is quite different from the net metered or feed-in tariff projects in the U.S. and Europe in that the utilities are driving these market changes,” the report says.

On the customer side of the meter, which largely was limited to solar power from photovoltaic panels, Pacific Gas & Electric had the largest amount of overall solar capacity and highest megawatt output per customer.

“California — with its long-standing policies for solar development — represents the majority of the highest rankings, but utilities in Arizona, Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin also make the top ten in many categories,” the report says.

Next year, the association speculates, the ranking order is likely to shift as new solar markets emerge. The association compiled the data through a survey of utilities and through independent research.

A summary of some of the rankings:

Top three utilities by total solar electric capacity per customer (MW/customer):

* Southern California Edison
* Nevada Power/Sierra Pacific Power
* Pacific Gas & Electric Co.

Top three utilities by solar electric capacity per customer on the customer side of the meter:

* Pacific Gas & Electric Co.
* Kauai Island Utility Cooperative
* City of Palo Alto Utilities

Top three utilities by solar electric capacity per customer on the utility side of the meter:

* Southern California Edison
* Nevada Power/Sierra Pacific Power
* Tucson Electric Power Co.

The report ranks the top 10 utilities in each of 14 categories.

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