US utility companies installing solar as capacity rapidly expands

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The SEPA report also found that the number of utility lead installations has increased and that the number of larger solar plants grew. Plants utilizing phtovoltaic and concentrating solar power technologies were included in the the SEPA analysis.

SEPA is a body comprised of solar and utility companies and it produced the annual rankings on the levels of solar generation by utilities using two different measures. The first was by total added capacity or ‘Solar Megawatts’ and second, installation by size of utility or ‘Solar Watts-per-Customer’. The results for the period January 1 to December 21, 2010 held some surprises.

Pacific Gas & Electric topped the Solar Megawatt ranking with 157 megawatts (MW), while Florida Power & Light Company came in second with 82 MW. Third was the Public Service Electric & Gas Company (PSEG) from New Jersey that added 75 MW of solar capacity.

The Solar Watts-per-Customer ranking was topped by California’s Silicon Valley Power, that added 40 watts per customer, just five watts behind was New Jersey’s PSEG with 35.2 watts per customer with Hawaiian Electric Company Inc. only two watts behind on 33.2 watts per customer.

That states outside of California featured prominently on both rankings was highlighted by SEPA in its conclusions, as was the fact that utility companies appear to be initiating far more solar projects. Previous reports had shown that customer initiated installation was driving growth.

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