Tuesday, June 14, 2011

America's Utilities Turn Bullish on Solar in 2010

Utilities integrated 561 megawatts of solar capacity into their systems in 2010, an 100% increase over 2009, according to the fourth annual rankings of utility solar projects published by the Solar Electric Power Association.  See www.solarelectricpower.org.

Prior to 2010 most solar development was behind the meter, distributed generation systems.  But in 2010 utilities themselves turned bullish on solar and began building, owning, or otherwise integrating solar into their portfolios.

Pacific Gas and Electric ranked number 1 with 137.3 megawatts and Florida Power and Light ranked second with 87.2 megawatts, including a 75 megawatt hybrid concentrating solar power and natural gas plant that could well be a model for much more development.

Other major solar projects built in 2010 included a 48 megawatt and 30 megawatt PV systems built in Nevada and New Mexico respectively.  There were 8 centralized solar projects built in the USA greater than 10 megawatts.

Three of the top 10 utilities for total capacity integrated are in California.  But 2010 saw utilities from Colorado, New Jersey, Arizona, and North Carolina breaking into the top 10.

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