While the pace of installations of distributed solar systems for homes and businesses has steadily risen over the past few years, utilities have mostly stayed out of the picture. However, that appears to be changing now as more and more utilities are looking at solar energy as major contributor to their current and future renewable energy portfolios.

"2008 was really a wake-up call that solar is scaling up and the utility's involvement in this process is crucial." -- Julia Hamm, Executive Director, Solar Electric Power Association