As you might, many of the sunniest states show up on the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) latest ranking of the top utility companies that are integrating solar energy generation into their portfolios. These are the states to live in if you want to use solar: California, Florida, Arizona, Hawaii, Colorado and New Jersey.
Wait, New Jersey? Yes, I'm proud to say that Public Service Electric & Gas Co. in my home state is actually third on the list of top solar-megawatt providers in 2009; that was up from its No. 5 ranking in 2008. Not surprisingly, two California utilities -- Pacific Gas & Electric and Southern California Edison -- were the top two companies when it comes to adding solar-generated megawatts into the grid. The top 10 companies on the SEPA list represent 80 percent of the solar capacity being added to the grid. Last year, they added 279 megawatts, up from 169 megawatts just 12 months earlier. Believe it or not, that 80 percent number was a declined from 2008, when the top 10 solar-friendly utilities generated 88 percent of the megawatts being added to the grid.
Another cool list that SEPA produces is one that tracks the utilities providing the most solar watts per customer. So, essentially, it is a penetration measurement that means their customers are using a higher percentage of solar than elsewhere in the country.
What's really interesting is the fact this is a list of almost entirely different companies. The No. 1 utility on the second list is Sulphur Springs Valley Electric Co-op in Arizona, which provides 56 solar watts-per-customer. Four companies from Hawaii made this list, including Maui Electric Hawaii Electric Light, Kauai Island Utility and Hawaiian Electric. Only one company was on both lists: Southern California Edison.