- The Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA), a research group, released its 10th annual Utility Market Survey last week, adding to it new top-10 lists for energy storage along with solar generation.
- Imperial Irrigation District (IID) in Southern California took the top spot for 30 MW of energy storage added in 2016; the Sterling Municipal Light Department in Massachusetts led the storage list for watts-per-customer, with 533 watts.
- Southern California Edison (SCE) ranked No. 1 in new solar megawatts (1,648 MW) added last year, and the City of Palo Alto Utilities was first in solar watts per customer (2,753 watts).
SEPA's addition of energy storage to its top-10 rankings is a sign of how quickly the resource is growing, alongside solar.
“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," SEPA President and CEO Julia Hamm said in a statement. More than 400 utilities submitted data to the SEPA review.
Following SCE in the top spot, Pacific Gas & Electric was second in new solar megawatts, with 773 MW. While California utilities continue to lead in new megawatts of solar and storage, SEPA said that market growth in both sectors is spreading. Utilities in North Carolina and Georgia took four spots in the top 10 for solar megawatts, while utilities in Illinois, Indiana and Ohio took three spots for storage.
“It’s a pivotal time for the energy industry,” said Vicken Kasarjian, energy manager for IID. “With the increase of variable renewable energy and distributed generation on the grid, battery storage can provide operational flexibility while increasing system reliability. It’s exciting to see it come to life in the Imperial Valley, with IID leading the way.”
Uutility-scale battery storage installed capacity grew by another 221 MW in 2016 in the United States as costs continued to drop, according to a recent report from GTM Research and the Energy Storage Association.