Every year, the Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) crowns the top U.S. utilities for solar, and with the release of its 10th annual utility market survey, the group has now launched additional rankings for the utilities leading on energy storage.
“One of the reasons we started the utility solar top 10 lists back in 2007 was to highlight the key, but often unrecognized, role utilities were taking in putting new solar on the grid,” explains SEPA President and CEO Julia Hamm. “With utility-scale solar now well established as a mainstream power source, we wanted to similarly recognize utilities’ leadership in realizing the full potential of storage to drive critical system changes that will benefit customers and the grid.”
SEPA explains the top 10 lists are based on data provided by 412 utilities, which together serve more than 90 million customers across the country, and the lists rank the leading U.S. utilities of 2016.
In terms of the most new megawatts of solar added in 2016, Southern California Edison (SCE) ranked No. 1 and Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) ranked No. 2 – the same spots the two California utilities had on the first top 10 list in 2007, SEPA notes. However, the group points out that the number of megawatts each added has changed dramatically: SCE jumped from 409 MW in 2007 to 1,648 MW in 2016, while PG&E grew from 144.5 MW to 773 MW.
According to SEPA, the figures needed to make the top 10 list for new solar watts added per customer have also shot up. The City of Palo Alto Utilities ranked No. 5 in 2007 with 20.4 watts per customer; this year, it earned the No. 1 spot with 2,753 watts.
As for energy storage, Imperial Irrigation District (IID), a public power and water utility in Southern California, took the No. 1 spot on the top 10 list of new storage megawatts installed, adding 30 MW of storage in 2016. The Sterling Municipal Light Department, the municipal utility for the small town of Sterling, Mass., led the top 10 energy storage list for new watts per customer, with 533 watts added per customer.