Energy Providers Recognized as Leaders in Solar Electricity

Four energy companies in the United States will be recognized for incorporating solar electricity into their corporate business plans.

WASHINGTON, DC, US, 2001-10-04 [] Los Angeles Department of Water & Power, Sacramento Municipal Utility District, Soluz, Inc., and JEA are leading the way in solar electric technology use, according to the Solar Electric Power Association. The group will recognize the distinct programs of these energy service providers at its annual conference, ‘UPEx’01: the PV Experience,’ in Sacramento, California. LADWP will be honoured for its leadership in the solar industry. The California utility’s solar program consists of three strategic components that will build a permanent solar power infrastructure within the city of Los Angeles, promote distributed generation and increase the city’s use of renewable energy. The first component requires the installation of PV systems on high-visibility municipal facilities to provide education and outreach opportunities; the second is the installation of additional systems on department facilities; and the third is an incentive program to allow residents to participate in the development of a solar infrastructure in Los Angeles. The incentive program rebates at US$4.50 to $6 per watt for PV systems in residential or commercial facilities. LADWP has received 128 customer reservations, which represents 831,090 kW and $3.4 million dollars in incentive payments. LADWP is working to meet a goal of 100,000 solar rooftops in Los Angeles by 2010. SMUD will be honoured for its sustainable solar business plan. The California utility has been involved in solar energy for many years, and has made significant advances in the past year in implementing business- oriented and sustainable solar business plans. In the first half of this year, SMUD’s PV Pioneer II program has sold 357 kW of PV systems, compared with 132 kW in all of 2000. SMUD Solar is on track to complete 2 MW of PV projects this year, up from 1.6 MW in 2000. It has created a special Solar Advantage Home program to get PV energy roofs incorporated in new home subdivisions, and has six homebuilders participating, including three major homebuilders which offer PV panels as standard equipment in new Sacramento subdivisions. SMUD is also implementing the largest California Energy Commission grant ($23.4 million over three years) for renewable generation research that is focused on improved systems for deploying PV. Soluz will be recognized for its innovation in a solar venture. The North Chelmsford (Massachusetts) company developed a rural energy delivery operation in Honduras that has reached 1,000 fee-for-service customers with unsubsidized service based on distributed micropower technology. Its Honduran subsidiary supplies PV systems to rural customers which generate electricity for household use as well as many income-generating activities. Soluz launched its PV service just months before the 1998 Hurricane Mitch, and the growth in PV systems show the strong demand for unsubsidized private electric service. JEA will be recognized for its development of a solar community. The utility of Jacksonville, Florida, has installed grid-tied PV systems at 18 high schools and provided state certified curriculum and annual teacher training. JEA is currently installing solar systems at four colleges: University of North Florida, Jacksonville University, Edward Waters College, and Florida Community College in Jacksonville. In addition to installation, JEA is developing technician and city electrical inspector training, and funding the development of a renewable energy laboratory. A solar energy system rebate program begins in January to stimulate residential and commercial installations of PV and solar thermal systems in JEA’s service territory. SEPA is a partnership of electric utilities and PV manufacturers to encourage new solar energy business partnerships and to establish standards for PV systems and interconnection to the grid. Since 1994, SEPA has leveraged $15 million of U.S. Department of Energy funds with $57 million of private funds to install 1,100 PV systems totaling 7.25 MW of electricity. SEPA was formerly known as the Utility PhotoVoltaic Group.
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