view from the states
Solar and Utilities
Compiled by Mike Koshmrl, Associate Editor
State and local policies may provide direction, but when it comes to solar incentives, it’s the utility companies that have to execute.
until recently, most utilities simply awarded cash incentives for distributed projects — either through rebates for new installations, or by rewarding electric production with feed-in tariffs (Fits) or solar renewable energy
credits (srecs). in 2010, 30 utilities broke from convention by installing
140 megawatts (mw) of solar projects they owned outright. that’s a 300
percent increase from 2009. centralized projects also increased by 500
percent, to 226 mw.
utilities come in many different shapes and sizes, and depending on the
state are subject to different solar “carve-outs” under renewable portfolio
standards (rPss). investor-owned utilities (ious) often get different rules
than member-owned co-ops and municipal utilities. the policy disparity has
a significant impact. in 2010, the top 10 investor-owned utilities installed
an average of 28 watts of solar per customer. For municipal and cooperative utilities, respectively, it was 22 and 12 watts per customer. thus, we’ve
reported solar progress here by utility category.
*Data taken from Solar Electric Power Association’s 2010 SEPA Annual Utility Solar Rankings report. The 2010
report accounted for 99 percent of the annual and 96 percent of the accumulative national solar market.
1 Silicon Valley
3 Xcel Energy (CO)
2 Kit Carson
1 Kauai Island
Utility Co-op (HI)
2 Hawaiian Electric (HI)
1 Public Service
Electric and Gas
Tennessee 3 Tri-State Electric
Membership-TVA (GA) 8
Leading Investor-Owned Utilities
Leading Cooperative Utilities
Leading Municipal Utilities
Locations are approximate
36 September/October 2011 SOLAR TODA Y solartoday.org
Copyright © 2011 by the American Solar Energy Society Inc. All rights reserved.