PG&E installed the most solar last year
The new study “2019 Utility Solar Market Snapshot” from SEPA discovers that the U.S. solar market is still growing and expanding significantly to new emerging markets. In 2018, 7.3 GW were interconnected, marking an rise in total capability of 20.1 percent over 2017.
The release of the Snapshot study also marks the announcement of SEPA’s “2019 Top 10 Rankings,” acknowledging utilities with the highest interconnected solar capability in 2018, measured by full megawatts (MW) and solar watts per customer (W / C) account.
“Driven by the increasingly competitive economy and solar capacities, coupled with increasing customer demand, the 2019 SEPA Utility Solar Market Snapshot highlights the industry’s ten-year growth pattern and extension into new markets,” said Mac Keller, co-lead author and Research Associate at SEPA. “The utilities in this year’s Top 10 solar rankings are among those leading the recent advancement we’ve seen in the electrical industry and paving the way for a clean, intelligent and resilient power future.” The solar snapshot demonstrates that the domestic industry remains powerful and competitive— despite minor cost effects from the 2018 solar panel and steel tariffs. In reality, the market has seen a geographic development beyond traditional powerhouse economies (e.g., California and North Carolina), with growth rates of 311.9%, 150.2% and 344.1% respectively in Florida, Washington and Rhode Island year-over-year.
Other main takeaways include: Utilities solar market, fueled by emerging markets in Florida, Texas, Minnesota, South Carolina, and Oregon, experienced 15.1 percent national development.
Twenty countries and DC have solar community policies in place, and utilities have shown powerful preference for utility-managed programs over third-party programs.
State-level solar compensation strategies are developing — most notably PURPA implementing laws and net metering of successor tariffs.
2018 was the biggest year for renewable commercial procurement, with a total of 75 businesses purchasing 6.5 GW compared to 50 businesses and 4.5 GW added in 2016 and 2017.
Every year, SEPA acknowledges the top 10 U.S. utilities that have interconnected their service areas with the newest solar capability.
Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) retained the No. 1 place on the “Top 10 Utility Solar Rankings by Annual Megawatts” list with 630 MW interconnected this year, while Florida Power & Light ranked second with 626.8 MW and Southern California ranked third with 440.7 MW.
Reedy Creek Improvement District, Florida’s municipal district serving and powering Walt Disney World, took the top place on the Annual Watts-Per-Customer’s “Top 10 Utility Solar Rankings,” with 1,819.6 W / C. Georgetown Utility Systems based in Texas and Village Electric Utility based in Ohio –Brewster respectively ranked 2nd and 3rd.
The 2019 Snapshot of Utility Solar Market is the first of three snapshot reports based on information from the 2018 Utility Survey of SEPA. The 2019 Utility Energy Storage Market Snapshot and the 2019 Service Demand Response Market Snapshot will include upcoming reports.