Southern California Edison delivered more solar energy to its customers last year than any other utility in the nation, according to rankings compiled by the Smart Electric Power Alliance. The rankings were announced today at the alliance’s annual Utility Conference. SCE connected 1,648 megawatts of solar energy to the grid last year through new and expanded residential and commercial solar installations as well as through utility power-purchase agreements. This represents a 31 percent increase over the 1,258 megawatts SCE connected in 2015, when it also earned the alliance’s top spot for megawatt capacity. SCE has placed among the top-10 utilities every year since the alliance began publishing its solar rankings in 2007.
Among the company’s other solar energy accomplishments:
SCE connects an average of 4,400 solar customers to the electric grid monthly, equal to a solar customer coming online every 10 minutes. SCE has connected more than 220,000 residential and commercial customers to the grid, accelerated by the success of the California Solar Initiative, totaling more than 1,700 megawatts of solar capacity. SCE also has large power-purchase agreements with private suppliers exceeding 3,500 megawatts of capacity. The company has a long history of solar innovation. SCE’s Coolwater plant in the Mojave Desert — later named Solar One — began operation in 1982 as the nation’s first large-scale solar electric generation site. The 10-megawatt facility was the largest plant of its type in the world, and the first commercial plant in the U.S. to use solar thermal technology.
The alliance’s rankings recognize utilities in four categories: Top-10 utilities for most new solar megawatts and most new watts per customer and top-10 utilities for most new storage megawatts and most watts per customer. The 10th annual survey includes figures from 412 U.S. utilities on solar connected to the grid both last year and in total since 2007. The full top-10 listings are available online at sepatop10.org. “California’s electricity customers have made it very clear, they want more renewable, clean energy,” said Kevin Payne, SCE’s CEO. “SCE is committed to meeting customers’ needs, as well as to meeting the state’s climate and air quality targets, so we continue to innovate and invest in our electric grid to make it all possible.”