green and sustainable business

Utilities meeting the solar challenge?

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solar-panels-in-fieldThe Solar Electric Power Association thinks so. The association issued a report Thursday identifying the top 10 U.S. utilities that have the most significant amounts of solar electricity integrated into their portfolios.

SEPA’s report, “2008 Top Ten Utility Solar Integration Rankings” also records the increasing collaboration of the U.S. electric utility and solar energy industries.

More than 550 utilities and solar industry companies are SEPA members, with about 110 of them utilities. “The utility segment is making a major investment to increase the amount of solar energy in power portfolios, with many utilities doubling the amount of solar power in their portfolio in just one year,” an association press release said.

The total installed solar capacity of the top 10 ranked utilities increased to 882 megawatts from 711 megawatts last year, a 25 percent jump.

The Top 10 utilities in cumulative megawatts installed last year were:

1.  Southern California Edison (EIX) – CA (441.4MW)
2.  Pacific Gas & Electric (PCG) – CA (229.5)
3.  NV Energy – NV (77.9)
4.  San Diego Gas & Electric (SRE) – CA (49.3)
5.  Public Service of Colorado (Xcel Energy – XEL) – CO (28.5)6 LA Department of Water & Power – CA (13.6)
7.  Public Service Electric & Gas Co. – NJ (13.2)
8.  Arizona Public Service Co. – AZ (10.6)
9.  Sacramento Municipal Utility District – CA (10.2)
10.  Long Island Power Authority – NY (7.7)

“This year’s report demonstrates that solar electricity is finally on the radar screen of utilities across the country,” said Julia Hamm, SEPA executive director. “Solar plants big and small are ready for significant build-out,  and the utility industry is moving quickly  toward mass adoption to meet a variety of business needs,” she said.

SEPA said renewable portfolio standards; pending carbon policy changes and fluctuating costs of power generation and fuel resources “top the list of drivers towards improved utility perception of solar electric options.

“A doubling or more of slar megawatts in a utility’s portfolio was not unusual in 2008,” the report says. California continues to lead the country in solar development and capacity.

According to the report there was an average of 2 megawatts per participating utlity last year. “Two megawatts is enough to offset the use of over 300 homes an an annual basis,” SEPA says.

Pacific Gas and Electric Company, based in San Francisco was the most solar integtaed utility in 2008, interconnecting 85MW of new capacity, the report found. That represented more than 44 percent of the survey total. Second and third in that ranking were Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric.

Click here to read the SEPA report.

Suntech share offer closes, nets $277m

In related solar news, China’s Suntech Power Holdings Co. said its “follow-on” public offering of 23 million American Depositary Shares (ADS) closed on Thursday. Suntech, with main offices in San Francsco and Wuxi, said it received about $277 million from the offering.

The share offer was priced at $12.50 per ADS and the company granted underwriters UBS, Goldman Sachs (Asia) and Deutsche Bank Securities an option to purchase up to 3 million additional shares to cover over-allotments, which they did.

Written by William DiBenedetto

29 May, 2009 at 11:22 am

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