Companies Recognized for Solar Achievements

The Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA) has announced the recipients of the 2002 Awards for Solar Business Achievement, which were presented last week at the UPEx ’02 Photovoltaic Experience Conference in Austin, Texas.

Washington, D.C., November 26, 2002 [] The companies were recognized for outstanding achievement in three different categories: public awareness and industry leadership, development of a solar community, and development of a sustainable business plan. In the category of public awareness and industry leadership, the winner was BP. BP has undertaken an extensive campaign to raise public awareness about solar energy and its possibilities for ordinary people. Through print ads, billboards, bus ads, and their sponsorship of and involvement in the Solar Decathlon, the company has made ordinary energy consumers more knowledgeable and aware of the wide variety of energy options available to them. BP continues to seek out innovative uses for photovoltaics (PV). In addition to the more traditional methods, BP has installed PV systems on numerous service stations to raise public awareness of solar projects, and has partnered with utilities and developers to expand the use of PV. In the category of development of a solar community there were two award winners: Commonwealth Edison and the Chicago Solar Partnership, and the City of Palo Alto Utilities. Commonwealth Edison (ComEd) and the Chicago Solar Partnership, Chicago’s largest electricity provider and a unit of Exelon Corporation, is turning state-of-the-art solar technology into state-of-the-practice power generation throughout the City. With an investment of US$12 million in the purchase and installation of PV power systems, ComEd is a key player in the Chicago Solar Partnership, bringing together governmental, labor and community organizations to foster the development of Renewable Energy in the City of Chicago. Since its inception just two years ago, the Chicago Solar Partnership has installed over 650 kW kW of PV generation on the roofs of Chicago museums, schools, city and other public buildings. The partnership is on its way to creating the nation’s largest school-based solar energy network by not only installing PV systems on school facilities, but by implementing solar energy into Chicago Public School curriculum. The City of Palo Alto Utilities (CPAU) has had great success in promoting solar energy in Palo Alto, California. CPAU’s PV Partners program offers a combination of incentive programs, educational workshops and tours which foster a supportive environment for the adoption of photovoltaic systems. Fifty-three customer-owned systems have been installed for a total of 189 kilowatts-AC, representing over one tenth of one percent of the City peak demand (184 MW). As a municipal utility, CPAU has taken an active role in facilitating the use of PV. They were one of the first municipal utilities to offer incentives for customer-owned PV systems. Additionally, CPAU has worked with the City Building Department to lower PV permitting fees by 90 percent, and has offered PV training courses for building inspectors. Finally, in the category of developing a sustainable solar business, the winner is Tucson Electric Power/City of Tucson. The City of Tucson and Tucson Electric Power demonstrate an outstanding example of a sustainable business partnership including working together on several PV installations, some funded originally under the TEAM-UP program, as well as training and educational programs. Tucson Electric Power’s green pricing program, Green Watts, and their SunShare rebate program offer opportunities for customers to either purchase green power, or generate their own. The City of Tucson’s “1 percent for solar program” allocates a portion of the City’s electric bill to be used for solar projects. Tucson Electric Power (TEP) established an early PV business with their manufacturing subsidiary, Global Solar, and TEP is an integral part of Tucson area solar programs. Earlier this year, TEP and the City of Tucson received a funding award in the SEPA Solar Power Solutions program with their Hayden/Udall Water Treatment Facility PV Project. TEP’s response to the Arizona Renewable Portfolio Standard was the installation of over 2.4 MW of PV systems at their Springerville site, with the output connected to a local TEP transmission line.
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