- Pacific Gas & Electric is the number one utility in the U.S. when it comes to the amount of solar on its grid, a new report from the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) finds. The California IOU interconnected 1,504 MW of solar—including rooftop, commercial, and utility-scale—in 2014 and now has a grand total of 4,604 MW of solar on its grid.
- Southern California Edison (2,320 MW of cumulative solar), San Diego Gas & Electric (1,239 MW), Arizona Public Service (805 MW) and Public Service Electric and Gas (607 MW) rounded out the top five utilities for solar. The top two — PG&E and SCE — represented 48% of the total solar capacity installed in 2014. SCE added 1,043 MW of solar in 2014.
- The U.S. as a whole added 5,314 MW of solar in 2014 to bring its cumulative total to 16,295 MW, SEPA reports. Of the solar capacity added in 2014, 62% was utility scale solar, 20% was nonresidential, and 18% was residential.
California utilities are clearly leading the nation in terms of cumulative megawatts of solar installed, a new study from SEPA finds. Nearly half of the added solar capacity that came online in 2014 was in California, and the state's three investor owned utilities installed more MW of solar than the rest of the nation's utilities combined.
Those stats are impressive for California, but some of the state's success with solar has to do with the size and climate of the state, as well as the population demographics in the California IOUs' service areas.
When it comes to the amount of solar installed on a per customer basis, some small utilities and municipalities are making big strides, according to SEPA.
Utilities are increasingly getting into the solar space, both in residential, commercial and utility-scale. Interest in community solar in particular is growing, with at least 93 programs currently active in the United States. 79% of the utilities surveyed by SEPA expressed a preference for utility ownership in these operations.
Utilities across the nation are also preparing to tackle some of the more contentious issues in the solar arena. 73% of the respondents to SEPA's survey said they were planning or considering a rate restructuring for solar customers, and the figure grew to 85% when feed-in or value-of-solar tariffs were included. 55 utilities reported they are exploring a value-of-solar tariff. Austin Energy is the only one with a tariff today.
Four utilities are offering rooftop solar leasing programs with utility-owned, customer-sited solar installations on residential rooftops: Arizona Public Service, Tucson Electric Power, CPS Energy and Wright-Hennepin Electric Cooperative in Minnesota.