U.S. educational non-profit Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) announced the release of its yearly industry report, the 2019 Utility Solar Market Snapshot, based on interconnection data and market insights obtained directly from more than 500 utilities across the country, representing 74% of all customer accounts and 71% of all MWhs sold in 2018. The report shows there were 7.3 GWs interconnected, marking a 20.1% increase in total capacity over 2017.
The national market remains strong and competitive, despite minor cost impacts from the solar panel and steel tariffs of 2018. In fact, the market saw a geographical expansion beyond the traditional powerhouse markets (e.g., California and North Carolina), with Florida, Washington, and Rhode Island seeing year-over-year growth rates of 311.9%, 150.2% and 344.1%, respectively.
Key takeaways from the report include:
- Utility-supply solar market experienced 15.1% growth nationally, driven by emerging state markets in Florida, Texas, Minnesota, South Carolina and Oregon.
- 20 states and DC have community solar policies in place and utilities have indicated a strong preference for utility-managed programs over third party-managed programs.
- State level solar policies related to solar compensation are evolving – most notably PURPA implementation rules and net metering successor tariffs.
- 2018 was the largest year for corporate renewable procurements, with 75 companies procuring a total of 6.5 GW, compared to 50 companies and 4.5 GW added in 2016 and 2017 combined.
The 2019 Utility Solar Market Snapshot is the first of three Snapshot reports based on data from SEPA’s 2018 Utility Survey. Upcoming reports will include the 2019 Utility Energy Storage Market Snapshot and the 2019 Utility Demand Response Market Snapshot.
The release of the Snapshot report also marks the announcement of SEPA’s 2019 Top 10 Rankings, recognizing the utilities with the most overall solar capacity interconnected in the year 2018, measured by total megawatts (MW), and solar watts-per-customer account (W/C).
Each year, SEPA recognizes the Top 10 U.S. utilities that interconnected the most new solar capacity in their service territories.
On the Top 10 Utility Solar Rankings by Annual Megawatts list, Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) maintained the No. 1 spot this year with 630 MW interconnected, while Florida Power & Light was second with 626.8 MW and Southern California Edison ranked third with 440.7 MW.
Reedy Creek Improvement District, the municipal district serving and powering Walt Disney World in Florida, took the top spot on the Top 10 Utility Solar Rankings by Annual Watts-Per-Customer list, with 1,819.6 W/C. Texas based Georgetown Utility Systems and Ohio based Village Electric Utility, Brewster ranked 2nd and 3rd respectively.
Mac Keller, co-lead author and Research Associate at SEPA said:
“Driven by the increasingly competitive economics and capabilities of solar, paired with rising consumer demand, the 2019 SEPA Utility Solar Market Snapshot highlights the industry’s decade-long pattern of growth and expansion to new markets. The utilities in this year’s Top 10 solar rankings are among those spearheading the latest progress we’ve seen in the electric sector and paving the way to a clean, smart and resilient energy future.”
Source: Press Release by SEPA.